Brick by Brick: MSI exhibit displays the artistic potential of Legos


Joaquin Figueroa

Artist Nathan Sawaya’s iconic Lego sculpture “Yellow!” has found a temporary home at the Museum of Science and Industry, alongside the rest of his all-Lego exhibit entitled The Art of the Brick.

When most people think about Legos, they think back to their days as children where they used these small, colorful bricks to build their own unique sculptures. Most would not imagine Legos could become a form of visual art. Yet, at the Museum of Science and Industry, crowds gather in the middle of a dark room, looking up at a yellow man standing with his chest ripped open, his yellow Lego insides pouring out. 

Families, couples and groups of friends can view over 100 Lego sculptures, recreations of famous artwork and Lego brick-infused photography at The Art of the Brick exhibit at the MSI. The exhibit was an entertaining and nostalgic experience that allows the viewer to appreciate the creativity found among simple objects in art.

The exhibit, open until Sept. 5, emphasizes the expression of emotions through art, specifically Legos. Not only do the two galleries of the exhibit bring out these emotions, but at the end they allow viewers to express their emotions by making their own Lego builds the same way Nathan Sawaya, the artist, has. 

A Lego T-Rex stands tall in the first gallery of the Art of The Brick Exhibit, which features animal figures alongside human sculptures, recreations of famous paintings and photographs featuring even more Lego creations. (Joaquin Figueroa)

The middle of the second gallery holds a small display of six emotions — joy, fear, sadness, surprise, disgust and anger — where viewers can interact with the artwork by adding to a stack of Legos that corresponds to the emotion they experience when looking at the art. 

Guests can play a game at the end of the exhibit which allows them to either make a build that matches one of the images they selected and compare it with the other guests they are with, or make a build that resembles one of the six emotions the exhibit focuses on. 

MSI staff members provide a breakdown of the game’s purpose and Mr. Sawaya’s intentions behind the whole exhibit: to show people how well they can express their emotions through art and something as simple as Legos.

For adults who are not members, museum admission is $21.95, and admission into the exhibit is $14 more. The museum does offer free days only requiring paid admission into this exhibit. 

The exhibit brought out a feeling of joy more than any other emotion.

My first sight of the Legos instantly brought back memories of me making the messiest constructions and made me truly appreciate the effort put into the exhibit because of the attention to detail in every piece of art. The exhibit brought out a feeling of joy more than any other emotion. I enjoyed seeing how something so simple, a Lego, can be adapted to make an entire exhibit of art.

People who are looking to reconnect with their childhood and get in touch with fine art in a playful way should experience the exhibit. Even though it can get a little busy and a little expensive, it is worth it to see this unique, innovative and emotion-evoking artwork.