“The Art of the Brick” at the Telus World of Science

“The Art of the Brick” is the newest exhibit at the Telus World of Science, showcasing larger-than-life art sculptures built entirely of LEGO blocks by artist Nathan Sawaya. I knew Mack, being the LEGO fan that he is, would love to visit the exhibit, so we planned a trip there on his birthday.

We arrived a bit later than we anticipated, with just over an hour left to explore the galleries. For this late arrival, we were granted a small discount. We headed straight to the Explorer Gallery, and were greeted by a roomful of colorful displays – some freestanding, some hung on the wall like art, and some needing reinforcement from the wall or ceiling. The spot lighting (probably left over from the Body Worlds exhibit) really made the colors pop.

A one-page guide with the name of each sculpture is available, though it probably would have been more helpful if the installation had been treated more like an art exhibit. Helpful to know on a small mounted placard next to the sculpture would have been the name, number of LEGO blocks used, and perhaps the inspiration behind the piece (for example, of the LEGO picture of Lindsay Lohan).

Guide

The exhibit was nonetheless visually appealing, especially for the child in us. I liked the sheer size of the dinosaur, but the men made of a single color, posed in a look of frozen agony, were the most striking. “The Eye”, a box containing small 3-D figures which, when glanced at from a distance, bore the image of a single eye. This demonstrated a more advanced use of planning – I hope this is the direction Sawaya goes in.

Yellow

Hands

Grey

Me and Dinosaur

Mack and buddies Circle, Triangle, Square

Our only disappointment from the exhibit was that a number of sculptures would be added in January 2009; we thought such omissions should be clear up front.

Shielded behind a curtain was a play area for adults and children alike – Megablocks for those under the age of five, and smaller, regular LEGO blocks for those older. A “City of the Future”, built entirely in “French-fry yellow”, as I heard an attendant describe it, lined the back wall. Patrons were invited to add their own imaginative creations to the city, so Mack and I sat down to create…something.

That’s the real beauty of LEGO, in my opinion anyway. There are no rules, and you do not need a plan prior to approaching the stackable blocks – something will come of it. In the end, Mack and I combined our creations to form a vehicle of sorts, complete with headlights and four wheels. We placed it on what looked to be a roadway, and left the gallery.

Future City

Mack hard at work

Our vehicular contribution

It’s too cool that someone has made a living playing with LEGO blocks. Sawaya also caters to requests, as described on his website, and on a fee-for-service basis, can create a personalized sculpture for you. “The Art of the Brick” is a cool exhibit for both adults and children alike, but wait until January 2009 to attend to make the most of your money.

We didn’t have a lot of time to check out the other galleries, but did take some time to peek at Mystery Avenue, probably my favorite of the permanent exhibits. If we had more time, I wouldn’t have minded actually solving the mystery of the abducted dog, CSI-style.

Mack on what he wishes was the Batpod

I am happy to report that the Telus World of Science isn’t just for kids – the young at heart will also have a great time there. Mack’s photoset is here.

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