If you can’t “lego” of your childhood, don’t miss this summer’s temporary exhibit at Hangar 11 in Tel Aviv Port of sculptures by New York-based Lego artist Sean Kenney made from the beloved building block toy.
Kenney, a Lego Certified Professional from New York whose oeuvre is being displayed in Israel for the first time, is one of 16 artists from around the world recognized by the Denmark- based Lego Group as an expert Lego builder. (LCPs do not formally work for the company.)
“I’ve always loved to create. Even as a young child, drawing and designing were a big part of my life,” Kenney told The Jerusalem Post by email. “I was a total ‘Lego maniac’ and Lego toys were the only toys I ever asked for when my birthday would come around each year... My models slowly became more elaborate as I got older. Eventually I started building Lego models professionally. Now it’s my full-time career.
“I am always excited to bring my work to fans around the world. This exhibit is the first time I have had my work on display in Israel… We had to do a lot of planning and logistics not only to create the sculptures but also to transport and install them. I have a whole team of artists and helpers that are a part of creating this show, [and] there are 12 of us here at my studio building and designing models… as well as four folks that handle the show logistics and installations.”
During a press preview, exhibit promoter Lior Kamali told the Post that he himself is a Lego builder. The educational toy is especially beneficial for children with ADHD, he said. “That’s why it’s important for me to bring [these exhibits to Israel], to inspire the kids.”
The exhibition includes both a display of Kenney’s art and an area with interactive Lego activities.
Kenney’s creations are arranged thematically along a continuous path in what Kamali called different “rooms.” The display area focusing on transportation features trains and the Brooklyn Bridge. A second room displays larger-than-life children’s toys, including a Brobdingnagian multicolored xylophone.
A third room features Kenney’s geometric mosaics and Lego lamps, which are available for purchase.
Kenney’s “city room” includes a model of New York’s Times Square made from 20,000 bricks, and a limegreen bicycle rising above a traffic jam of Lego cars, assembled from 75,000 bricks.
The pièce de résistance, however, is “Growing Ideas.” The cityscape – featuring brickbuilt shops, skyscrapers and a river – surrounds a massive tree crowned with a cloud from which Lego bricks ‘rain’ down, suspended by transparent wire.
The sculpture, containing 368,000 pieces, took two and a half years to create. “It’s the biggest Lego creation I’ve ever built,” the artist enthused.
Kenney and his team spent more than 10,000 hours creating the Tel Aviv Lego display. The sculptures are made of some 1,000,000 interlocking plastic bricks which have been glued together to make the pieces of art stable enough to be transported. They were shipped here in custom-made wood crates insulated with foam packing.
The exhibit’s interactive area, which does not have any of Kenney’s sculptures, includes motor-powered Lego vehicles and robots that children can control; a sprawling Lego cityscape that features both official Lego models and original creations by Kamali; and a building area containing lime-green bricks intended to challenge kids to build models like Kenney’s bicycle.
Kenney will not be visiting Israel for the exhibit, said a spokesman for the Tel Aviv event. His exhibit is unaffiliated with Lego Park, being held in Toto Arena Holon until the end of August, which is an official Lego Group event.