Wednesday, October 24, 2012 / 9:09 AM
There are plenty of tableaux at the Art of the Brick exhibition of LEGO sculptures at the Magic House that will titillate the toddlers. There are giant crayons made of LEGOs, and a bigger-than-life cat, and a life-size skateboard, and even a storybook castle rising up from a giant LEGO pop-up book.
But the sculptures that are most compelling to adults are reason enough to check this one out even if you head to the Magic House in a kid-free entourage. New York-based artist Nathan Sawaya really excels when he sculpts the human figure. In various sculptures, a man removes his own face; a human head awaits the “cartridges” that symbolize new ideas; a figure stares at his own disintegrated hands, suddenly unable to pick up anything; and a man lifts his own head off his shoulders.
It may sound like some psychological horror show, but most of these pieces are in bright, monochrome colors, and they play like cute set pieces for the kiddies, even as they raise adult eyebrows.
The showstoppers are a giant gray figure ripping open the walls of a dark gray slab of LEGOs to peer through, as if being born or seeing a new world for the first time; and a yellow figure ripping open his own chest to reveal a torrent of LEGOs tumbling out from his thoracic cavity. Both works are provocative. The fact that they’re made of LEGOs is practically incidental to their power.
On an upper level of the children’s museum, kids and adults alike may try their hand at making their own LEGO creations. For nearly all of us, it’s a familiar task.
The Art of the Brick runs through Jan. 27. The Magic House, 516 S. Kirkwood, 314-822-8900, magichouse.org.
Photographs by Byron Kerman
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