The Art of the Brick® Debuts at Muskegon Museum of Art in February

AOTBlogoWEB282Muskegon MI—Beginning February 19, 2014, the Muskegon Museum of Art will host The Art of the Brick®, an exhibition featuring large-scale sculptures created out of iconic LEGO® bricks by New York based artist Nathan Sawaya.

The exhibition has proved to be very popular with audiences as it has toured the globe. “This year alone, we’ve visited Ireland, South Africa, and Amsterdam,” said Sawaya. “We are thrilled to be bringing this collection to Muskegon.”


Yellow by artist Nathan Sawaya. Photo courtesy of

Like most young kids, Sawaya started playing with LEGO at a young age. But unlike most kids, Sawaya never stopped building, creating and exploring his own imagination. The result has solidified his place in pop culture history and he is making an indelible mark on the art world as well. The award-winning artist has catapulted the iconic LEGO brick into an art medium all its own, transforming this construction toy into awe-inspiring and thought provoking sculptures. The centerpiece of Sawaya’s collection of sculptures, as well as arguably his most famous piece of artwork, is entitled Yellow, a LEGO torso of a man ripping open his chest while yellow plastic bricks cascade out of the open chest cavity. Sawaya has made a name for himself by creating out of LEGO exacting replicas of the human form in various states of emotion, including anger, love, depression and joy.

Concurrently on display at Muskegon Museum of Art for the run of the exhibition will be Sawaya’s unique multimedia collaboration with award-winning Australian photographer Dean West, entitled IN PIECES. The two artists spent years traveling and working together to blend their crafts resulting in the IN PIECES collection of visually stunning hyper realistic images that are exhibited with corresponding and complimentary three dimensional LEGO sculptures.


Strength of Spirit by artist Nathan Sawaya. Photo courtesy of

“I use LEGO bricks as my medium because I enjoy seeing people’s reactions to artwork created from something with which they are familiar. Everyone can relate to it since it is a toy that many children have at home. I want to elevate this simple plaything to a place that it has never been before. I want to elevate this simple plaything to a place it has never been before. I also appreciate the cleanliness of the medium. The right angles. The distinct lines. As so often in life, it is a matter of perspective. Up close, the shape of the brick is distinctive. But from a distance, those right angles and distinct lines change to curves,” Sawaya said.

The Art of the Brick will be on view at the Muskegon Museum of Art, 296 W. Webster Ave., Muskegon, Michigan from February 19 through May 3, 2015. The public is invited to attend an opening reception on Thursday, February 19, from 5:30 to 7:00 pm. Light refreshments will be served at the family-friendly event, which will be free and open to the public. The appearance of the exhibition in Muskegon is underwritten by Meijer. The accompanying activity gallery is sponsored by Hooker DeJong Architects & Engineers. Additional support is provided by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs with the National Endowment for the Arts.


About Nathan Sawaya
Nathan Sawaya is an acclaimed New York-based contemporary artist who creates awe-inspiring artwork out of a toy. His art focuses on large-scale sculptures using only LEGO® bricks. Sawaya was the first artist to ever take LEGO® into the art world and his touring exhibition – THE ART OF THE BRICK® – has entertained and inspired millions of art lovers and enthusiasts from Australia, Taiwan, Singapore, China and around the world. CNN heralded, “THE ART OF THE BRICK® is one of the top 12 must-see exhibits in the world!” Originally from Oregon, Sawaya’s childhood dreams were always fun and creative. He drew cartoons, wrote stories, perfected magic tricks and of course also played with LEGO®. His days were filled with imagination. When it came time for college, Sawaya moved to New York City, attended NYU and became a lawyer. But after years of million dollar mergers and corporate acquisitions on Park Avenue, Sawaya realized he would rather be sitting on the floor creating art, than sitting in a board room negotiating contracts. He walked away from the law and took an artistic risk on LEGO®. Now Sawaya is an author, speaker and one of the most popular, award-winning contemporary artists of our time. For more information about Nathan Sawaya and his artwork, visit

About Dean West
Dean West is an acclaimed and award-winning photographer who specializes in highly conceptual and thought provoking contemporary portraiture. His body of work has been featured in top photography magazines and art galleries around the world. Born in Australia and currently living in Toronto, Dean has also been named “one of the world’s best emerging photographers” by After Capture Magazine and included in Saatchi & Saatchi’s collection of the world’s top 100 emerging photographers. See more of his work



Interactive Building Area
Use The Art of the Brick as inspiration to engineer and build your own masterpiece using LEGO bricks. This educational area will have hands-on opportunities for all ages.
Sponsored by Hooker DeJong Architects & Engineers.


Thursday, February 19, 5:30 pm
Opening Reception
Get a first look at this popular, nationally touring exhibition of artwork created with LEGOS ® bricks. Light refreshments will be provided. The event is free and open to the public.


Saturdays: February 21, March 21, April 18
10:00 am–noon
Peer Exploration Workshop
Exploring LEGO Boundaries
Ages 10-13
FREE—Registration is required; spaces are limited.
Call 231.720.2571 to register.
This peer workshop will be led by the Mona Shores middle school 4-H Tech Wizards under the direction of Barbara Brow. This dynamic group of students has been working together, exploring the boundaries of LEGO construction and want to share their knowledge. The workshop is designed for kids who like to work organically and learn without boundaries. The Tech Wizards will break into groups to lead and explore with fellow students. To register: Call 231.720.2571.


Thursday, February 26, 12:15 pm
Brown Bag Film
The LEGO® Movie
(101 mins.) After being mistaken for the LEGO® Master Builder, ordinary mini-guy Emmet is swept up in an urgent quest to thwart the evil plans of Lord Business. Emmet’s adventures include daunting challenges and hilarious missteps in this computer-animated epic film. Film admission is free and so are the coffee and cookies. Guests are welcome to bring lunch. Exhibition viewing may require paid admission. Underwritten by MMA Education Partner, Alcoa Foundation/Howmet.


March 5, 19, 26 & April 9, 16
5:00–8:00 pm
FREE Admission Family Fun Nights
See The Art of the Brick and create your own sculpture in the interactive LEGO building area.
Family Fun Nights are underwritten by MMA Education Partner Alcoa Foundation/Howmet.


Saturday, March 14, 10:00 am–3:00 pm
Super Brick Art Saturday
FREE Family Fun Day with LEGO® Bricks
Toys turn into art! Check out the spectacularly engineered and innovative work of Nathan Sawaya in The Art of the Brick. After you get inspired, head downstairs to make your own sculptures and watch a film. It is sure to be a building and learning type of Saturday at the MMA

10:00 am & 1:00 pm
Film: The LEGO Movie®
(101 mins.) Check out your favorite LEGO characters on the big screen in this exciting family friendly film.

11:00 am–1:00 pm
Guided Exhibition Tours
Join an MMA docent to explore The Art of the Brick.

11:00 am–2:00 pm
Make & Take
Push your creative bounds by building bricks up, down and across. Make a block sculpture to take home.


Monday–Thursday, March 30–April 2,
5:30–7:00 pm
Class: Robotics with LEGO Bricks
Instructor: Kathleen Steudle-Schwander
Ages 10-13 | limited spaces
Cost: $60 non-member | $50 member

Students will learn the joys of building and programming robots with LEGO bricks while working with and against each other to complete various missions. There is no greater adventure then that of the imagination and the sky is the limit with this class. Students will be challenged to solve problems in new ways and to come to the understanding that there are multiple ways to complete the same task. Participants will learn to use special computer software specifically made for crafting LEGO brick robotics. To register: Call 231.720.2571 by March 23.

Computers provided courtesy of the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District.

The Muskegon Museum of Art is located at 296 W. Webster Ave. in downtown Muskegon. Call 231-720-2570 or for information.

$8 Adult | $5 Adult Student (with I.D.) | $3 Ages 3-17
Free for MMA Members

Free Family Fun Night Admission for everyone
Thursdays 5:00-8:00 pm ONLY
Compliments of MEIJER

SUN noon-4:30pm/MON & TUES closed/WED, FRI, SAT 10am-4:30pm/THURS 10am-8pm