“The Art of the Brick” builds excitement downtown

“The Art of the Brick” exhibit is featuring Nathan Sawaya’s art that is completely made of lego bricks. Photo by Exhibit Coordinators.

Will Patterson

“The Art of the Brick” is an exhibit currently on display in downtown Omaha that consists of art created entirely out of Lego bricks. The art pieces are constructed by Nathan Sawaya, a lawyer-turned artist after pursuing his dream of creating artwork in a fun, new medium.

Sawaya is the single largest purchaser of Lego bricks in the country, with up to one million Lego parts in his studio at any given time. The exhibit has taken years for Sawaya to build.

The exhibit has been set up in the Capitol District at 225 N 12th St. The space was previously unoccu-pied and is currently being leased specifically for the show.

“This show can be misperceived as a kids’ show. It’s not a kid show per se,” said Shannon Liedel, the exhibit manager. “These are art pieces, original concepts.”

While Liedel said that the show isn’t specifically for children, she does believe it’s a great way to introduce children to the idea of gallery exhibits. Much like most art exhibits, there is a strict “no touching” policy. The Lego art pieces are still very fragile despite their durable appearance, said Shannon.

According to Liedel, one of the exhibit’s most iconic art pieces is “Yellow,” which appears to be the upper half a person pulling up their chest. Loose Lego pieces fill the chest cavity and appear to be pouring out. The sculpture earns its name because it is made of yellow bricks. This piece of art has been used in many promotional efforts for the exhibit.

A big part of the exhibit includes the recreations of historically significant art pieces. Some of the most notable recreations are Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night” and Michelangelo’s “David.”

Contrasting the playful nature of Lego bricks, some of Sawaya’s art tackles daunting subjects such as life and mortality. A series of life size Lego skulls in different colors highlight Sawaya’s ability to ap-proach heavier themes.

Another instance of powerful themes in Sawaya’s work is a piece that appears to be a person holding another limp person in their arms. While the art’s meaning is open for interpretation, it appears to convey a dramatic, tragic scene.

The exhibit also features collaborative work with photographer Dean West. These collaborations feature photos with Lego statues used as props. All the photos and the Lego sculptures used in them are on display together.

The largest art piece at “The Art of the Brick” is a model of a dinosaur skeleton. The sculpture, positioned toward the end of the exhibit, is made of 80,020 separate pieces.

Tickets to the exhibit cost $15.50 per adult or a price of $14.50 for students and military personnel. The exhibit will be open for guests until Feb. 19.

Additional information about “The Art of the Brick” can be found at their website www.artofthebrickomaha.com