Toys and Culture: Lego as Exhibit 1

RichardNathan I have been contending for some time that we need to be more aware and respectful of the impact that toys and the toy industry have on popular culture and art.  Well, it appears that we are having an impact on fine art as well. 

It came to me as I was in the 86th street Barnes & Noble in New York.  I was scanning the latest books when my eye chanced on a shiny new book; Lego a Love Story by Jonathan Bender.  I smile; move on and there is another book, I "heart"  New York by Christoph Newman.  In this case, the heart is made out of Lego.  H-m-m-m-m, what is going on?

22My mind goes back to my trip to the Strong National Museum of Play last year which offered me a chance to visit an exhibition there of Lego art by Nathan Sawaya.  If you have never seen his work gets ready to have your breath taken away.  It is incredible.  Here are a few images but they really don’t do justice to the impact of seeing these in person.

Some of the stuff that is coming out is just plain fun.  Take this Lego adaptation of Vincent Van Gogh’s Self Portrait by someone named nismo4banger.”  I found it on the Urban Retro Lifestyle website.   

I think this is all very important.  Why; because the more relevant we are to shaping33 culture and society the more respect we will get from the press, government (we could sure use that), and our other institutions.  Maybe then our inventors and designers will get their due as shapers of society and the future.  Maybe too we will sell more toys.

For more on this subject, read a nice article on Brick Dave, "Top 10 Ways Legos Are Educational for your Child: Learning with Lego." 

So, keep your eyes open for toys as inspirations and vehicle for art and let us know what you see.

One thought

  1. Some of the best art can be found imprinted on wooden puzzles. We collaborated with Liberty Puzzles here in Boulder to create a puzzle using the Van Gogh image, “Bedroom in Arles.” We even have some of the puzzle pieces in the shape of our Think-ets trinkets. Art and play do go together!

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