From mummies to mirth.
Union Station’s current traveling exhibition about real mummies from around the world will be followed in January with “The Art of the Brick,” which represents one artist’s fascination and skill with a simple medium: the Lego brick.
“It’s completely different than anything we’ve ever done,” said Union Station CEO George Guastello. “It’s a very hip, creative art exhibition that has a science spin that is really perfect for a science center.”
He is referring to Science City and the engineering prowess it takes to envision how to create art with nothing but those colorful plastic building blocks beloved by generations of young people.
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Artist Nathan Sawaya, a former corporate lawyer in New York, uses plain Lego bricks to re-create famous works such as Vincent van Gogh’s “The Starry Night” and Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa,” as well as whimsical pieces such as a man made of yellow Legos pulling open his chest as loose bricks spill out. An attention getter will be a tall T. Rex skeleton made of Legos.
At the end of the 10 galleries of art will be a table full of Lego bricks for inspired visitors to play with.
“It is difficult to walk through this exhibition and not smile in amazement...,” said The New York Times. “The playfulness is contagious.” CNN has called “The Art of the Brick” one of the world’s “must see” exhibitions.”
Sawaya will be in Kansas City for the opening of the exhibition Jan. 25. While here, he will publicly create a Lego sculpture inspired by Kansas City. Union Station will solicit ideas from the public on its Facebook page.
Union Station spokesman Michael Tritt said the exhibition will be complementary to the separate Legoland attraction nearby at Crown Center.
“This is an entirely different approach to what you do with Legos,” Tritt said. “It is truly an imaginative art exhibit.”
Guastello and Tritt traveled to Portland, Ore., this summer to check out “The Art of the Brick” there and reported it was full of people taking selfies with the Lego art.
Station officials do not expect the show, which will run here for four months, to be a huge financial success. But they do expect it to do well in the winter months and during spring break. Tickets will be $15.95 for adults and will be available at the Union Station website.
Union Station will advertise the exhibition with giant “Legoesque” bricks the size of automobiles at the corner of Pershing Road and Main Street.
“I wanted us to do something different because all the big blockbusters that we’ve been doing have been history-based or artifact-based,” Guastello said. “We wanted to change it up a little bit. I’m very cautiously optimistic that we will surprise everyone.”