Oh, those Legos. Who would have thought that these miniature children toy bricks could make that much commotion in the art world and beyond. As you all know the Danish company refused Ai Weiwei’s order of Lego bricks, as the plastic toys were intended to become political works of art. The famous Chinese dissident condemned Lego policy as the act of censorship and discrimination and Ai Weiwei’s admirers are really supportive of the artist and his work, so they decided to help. Yesterday, the first collection point was formed at the Brooklyn Museum, but there are more coming up soon, as institutions and individuals are joining the action and showing solidarity for Ai Weiwei.
A week ago, when Ai Weiwei announced that the Danish company has refused his order, people from all around the world responded swiftly offering help in the form of Logo donations. Ever since Ai Weiwei has been flooded with Lego offers from the anonymous fans. Major museum institutions also joined the initiative, setting up public collection points. The Brooklyn Museum, host of Ai Weiwei’s retrospective exhibition last year, is the first US institution to launch a public donation project. Yesterday, a BMW was parked in front of the museum and staff members were the first to contribute and donate their favorite toys from childhood that will later be used for the artworks exhibited at Melbourne’s National Gallery. The white BMW, which is now parked in front of the museum, will stay there until November 29th, 2015 for all those generous individuals who would like to help Ai Weiwei in his artistic endeavors and donate their Lego bricks. Those too lazy to walk to the museum building can even mail their donations.
Although, not many people are surprised by the support Ai Weiwei is getting from fans and institutions the public is pretty curious why Ai Weiwei insisted that the collection points must be BMW cars. Ai Weiwei was also pretty specific about the car model and 5S Series sedan will in the following days become the official Weiwei Lego container. The artist still hasn’t commented on his decision to use this car company of the specific model, so people started speculating about some secret plans Ai Weiwei has for the future. In addition, the artist also left the intriguing Instagram post commentating on the part exhibition of BMW Art Cars series. Is he just playing with his followers, or is something else coming from the artist’s workshop? Perhaps a collaboration with the German car manufacturer?
Since 1975 BMW has had an Art Cars series A photo posted by Ai Weiwei (@aiww) on
As we mentioned before, several other art institutions, mostly in Europe will be the next hosts of the public donation projects from the Photography Museum in Amsterdam, to London’s National Academy, National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Martin-Gropius Bau in Berlin, Kunsthal Charlottenberg in Copenhagen and Contemporary Art Center in Málaga, Spain. Ai Weiwei’s Twitter and Instagram followers will be the first ones to know the exact locations and dates of the forthcoming Lego-raising events. If you are a supporter of the Chinese artist, pack all the Legos you can spare and head over to the closest BMW container. Perhaps they also contain clues about his next art projects.
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Ai Weiwei – Single Panel Portrait of Ai Weiwei, 2014. Plastic Lego, 15 x 15 inches, detail. Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Museum
A young Ai Weiwei helper pouring Legos into a BMW container. Photo via Ai Weiwei/Instagram