Building the Perfect Exhibition



Photography provided by Cincinnati Museum Center

Cincinnati Museum Center’s exhibits are always entertaining, educational and engaging – and the upcoming exhibit is no different. “The Art of the Brick” is an exhibit that appeals to every demographic because it focuses on a childhood toy everyone of certain generations has played with: LEGO bricks. 

The collection is comprised of creative, awe-inspiring pieces by contemporary artist Nathan Sawaya. The exhibit will feature more than 100 works of his art, varying in size, shape and color composition. Some, like the large-scale replicas of Easter Island heads, are monochromatic while others incorporate multiple colors and tones. 

Perhaps what is most fascinating about these pieces is not just the medium in which they are made, but the physical logistics that went into creating them. Creating a 20-foot-long T-Rex skeleton out of nothing but a children’s toy is impressive in and of itself – but the work put into the form and ensuring that it stands upright on its own is simply amazing. 

“Our broad mission with this exhibit is to show that art and science are intertwined,” says David Duszynski, vice president of featured experiences and customer services at Cincinnati Museum Center. “We chose it for a variety of reasons – one of which is that it’s very new. So far, it’s only been displayed in New York City and Philadelphia. We enjoy bringing fresh exhibits to the community because it helps bring fresh ideas.” 

The exhibit will be on display from Oct. 23 to May 1, and will include opportunities for the community to engage and show off their own creativity – including an interactive space to play and build their own works of art after being inspired by Sawaya’s creations. 

“We really want to give an outlet for people to immediately move into a period of creativity of their own,” says Duszynski. “Often we create a local connection to the incoming exhibits by utilizing our unique science and history collections, but in this case the local spin will be the community’s creativity.” 

Walking through the exhibit, visitors will encounter sculptures and creations of all different kinds. From the size of a human hand to 6-foot-tall structures, these pieces of art all stand on their own without support beams and are impressive to see. From sculptural recreations of historical artworks like da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” and the “Venus de Milo” to pieces of Sawaya’s own creation, like “Yellow,” a life-size sculpture of a man ripping his chest open to reveal thousands of yellow LEGO bricks spilling from within the cavity, the exhibit promises to deliver a diversity capable of inspiring every visitor. 

“The power of LEGO bricks are their versatility,” says Elizabeth Pierce, president and CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. “They can become anything in the hands of someone who has an active mind and an eager imagination. The complex, magnificent structures in ‘The Art of the Brick’ are created out of a simple, accessible medium that nearly every child and adult is familiar with. We’re so excited to bring this exhibit to Cincinnati so that children of all ages, from 3 to 93, feel inspired and empowered to create their own masterpieces, whether that’s with LEGO bricks, Popsicle sticks or computer code.” 

Additionally, as seen in the exhibit, constructing art doesn’t come easy – particularly when the chosen medium is small plastic bricks. Physics play a part, as do some level of mathematics. Reconstructing Michelangelo’s “David” out of LEGOs might not take quite the same level of careful manipulation that marble does, but it still requires the knowledge of balance, physics and architectural precision. 

However, it can’t be denied that one large factor that will lure visitors from the Greater Cincinnati region and beyond, regardless of the subject matter: nostalgia. LEGO blocks represent the ultimate form of creative expression from childhood, and very few adults would pass up a chance to be able to relive that sort of creative freedom. 

“Since we announced the exhibit, we have been surprised by the overwhelming positive reactions in the community,” says Duszynski. “The level of enthusiasm and energy for this exhibit is very high in advance of it opening. LEGOs aren’t just for children – the phenomena crosses all generations and permeates so many fields, from engineering and robotics at one end of the spectrum, to art at the other end.” 

Although this exhibit is different from Cincinnati Museum Center’s recent events, it is not one to miss. The successful blending of art and science through a singular and wildly relatable medium will surely make this a must-see.   

The Cincinnati Museum Center is located at 1301 Western Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45203. You can reach them at 513.287.7000, by email at information@cincymuseum.org, or visit their website at www.cincymuseum.org.