On May 24th, 2018 I visited the Canada Science and Technology Museum for the first time in a long while. It wasn’t that I wasn’t interested in the place (though it is the lesser of any science museum I have visited); the museum had been closed for several years, having undergone major renovations after the building was found to be teeming with mould.
Which is science-related, I suppose.
Anyway, my museum-loving friend Johnny was visiting from Banff, I had had a pair of free passes to the Science and Tech Museum magnetted (again, science) to my refrigerator door for years that were finally coming up to their expiration dates, plus the museum was hosting a nifty-looking special exhibit, so I had a trifecta of reasons to go, and like I say, I did.
The special exhibit was called The Art of the Brick, an installation of Lego art created by a gentleman named Nathan Sawaya, and though Johnny and I visited every corner of the museum – the trains, the Krazy Kitchen, and the dandy new sound exhibit including a cool sound-resistant room (that works much better on those rare moments when it isn’t full of people talking to each other), our main focus was, of course, the Lego.
Though Lego is one of the greatest toys ever, I have been disappointed with the toymaker since they started coming out with one-trick pony kits. You know, build the Millennium Falcon or build the car from Back To The Future. Gadzooks, they took one of the most creative toys and turned it into a method for following instructions. Sacrilege.
So you’d think I would be crazy about Nathan Sawaya’s work, but I wasn’t. Especially the dozen or so pieces he did that merely recreated famous works of art, like the Mona Lisa and some of the popular Gustav Klimt pieces. They looked like homemade paint-by-numbers, and though I couldn’t discount the skill and accuracy of those pieces I sure could attack their lack of creativity. Oh sure, it was pretty darn cool to see the almost life-sized dinosaur and the more creative works like the man pulling his own stomach apart, only to be spilling more Lego’s. But really, it looked like case after case of “I could have done that*.”
In the end I found The Art of the Brick to be neither artistic enough to warrant being exhibited in a gallery nor scientific enough to warrant being featured in a science museum.
That said, it was enough to get me through the door. So score one for the Science and Technology Museum.
(All pics by Johnny.)
*The response to which is (of course) to point out the salient fact that I didn’t, and to do so now would be to just ape someone else’s good idea.