Nassau County Museum of Art
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Past Exhibitions

Nathan Sawaya: Recent Works

In the Contemporary Gallery

December 10, 2011 - March 18, 2012

No longer just for child’s play, plastic toy building bricks have become material for fine art. The New York sculptor, Nathan Sawaya, is among the most prominent of contemporary artists working with LEGO® blocks. Sawaya’s work, exploring themes of identity, elevates brick art to a new phase of artistic expression through large-scale sculptures that portray complexities of the human condition. Nathan Sawaya: Recent Works, opening on December 10, 2011 and remaining on view through March 18, 2012, is organized by Elaine Berger for the museum’s Contemporary Collectors Circle in cooperation with the Agora Gallery in New York.

Nathan Sawaya is well known for his groundbreaking fusion of pop art and surrealism within artworks comprised solely of LEGO® building blocks. Says Sawaya: “By working with an unconventional medium, I work within the trappings of a self-imposed prison.” His gripping images of human figures are alive with emotion. While at times ironic, the works also expose and comment on raw elements of the human experience.

Work by Nathan Sawaya is found in public and private collections including the National Marine Corps Museum, Neiman Marcus, New Orleans Public Library and The New York Times. The installation at Nassau County Museum of Art includes the eight-foot-high Pushing Against, a red figure with raised arms, and the five-foot high The Courage Within, a mostly grey work highlighted by a view into the figure’s red abdomen. Other works in the exhibition include Trapped, a two-foot-high red figure enclosed within a box; Strength of Spirit, a two-foot high hand holding a small human figure; and Goodbye, a two-and-a-half foot high erect grey figure losing its parts as it walks away.

See Events for a Family LEGO day!

Nathan Sawaya: Trapped   Nathan Sawaya: Goodbye  
Nathan Sawaya
Trapped, 2010
Plastic bricks, 23 X 28 X 16 inches
Courtesy of
  Nathan Sawaya
Goodbye, 2010
Plastic bricks, 34 X 32 X 3 inches
Courtesy of
Nathan Sawaya: The Courage Within   Nathan Sawaya: Pushing Against  
Nathan Sawaya
The Courage Within, 2009
Plastic bricks, 59 X 18 X 11 inches
Courtesy of
  Nathan Sawaya
Pushing Against, 2010
Plastic bricks, 96 X 30 X 20 inches
Courtesy of