Arts Post
Posted at 01:15 PM ET, 12/30/2011

Lego: The year in review

No, really: This was a big year for Lego. With the opening of Florida’s Legoland, some accusations of sexism and involvement in a few weird art projects, Legos made news in 2011. Here’s how:
A 100-pound, eight-foot-tall statue made to look like a Lego man was found on Siesta Key Beach in Sarasota, Fla. (AP)

Lego man washes ashore in Florida: The eight-foot-tall Lego man that washed ashore on Siesta Key Beach in Florida was at first thought to be a viral marketing campaign for Florida’s new Legoland. Instead, it was the bizarre prankish artwork of “Ego Leonard” — also the name of the giant Lego figurine on Facebook and Twitter — an artist from the Netherlands. Leonard did not claim his figurine, which bore the motto, ”NO REAL THAN YOU ARE,” so it was placed in “protective custody”with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office. If it’s not claimed, it will be sold on eBay.

Legos come together for fifth amusement park: Legoland Florida opened its plastic-block gates in October, and our travel section checked out the scene: “Legoland Florida also has a true theme park rarity: sculptures that kids willingly pose with for photos,” wrote Paul Abercrombie. “We’re talking everything from wee vampire bats suspended from the ceiling in the Castle coaster to Albert Einstein’s 20-foot-tall mustachioed melon greeting visitors to the Imagination Zone.” Pro: The food is good, kids go crazy for Lego. Con: It’s expensive ($65-$75 for admission) and the rides aren’t super exhilarating.
Legoland Florida. (Chip Litherland - Legoland Florida/Merlin Entertainment Group)

Legos occupy Legoland: It is unclear who the 1 percenters of Lego are, but the angry Lego masses teemed through Legoland to protest nevertheless. Not the real Legoland — the blog Legoland, which replicated scenes of the real Occupy movement, including D.C.’s barn-raising, with Lego figurines. The Lego police force even had its own pepper-spray cop.
Lego protesters evicted from a makeshift shelter in "Legotti Park." (Courtesy Chris Grosek)

Legos depict Challenger explosion at Corcoran Museum: Another Lego art project, this one capitalizing on the medium’s innocence and childishness. Artists Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro depicted the Challenger space shuttle explosion in Legos for their space-themed exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington. “We thought it was an interesting way to build something about destruction,” Cordeiro said.
Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro, “T+85_red&yellow,” from the series “Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going, Why, 2010–2011.” (Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro - Gallery Barry Keldoulis)

Legos accused of sexism: Four years of research gave Lego the idea for Lego Friends, a pink-and-lavender set of girls-only blocks for “the other 50 percent of the world’s children.” Immediately, women were furious: The new Lego figurines were skinny like Barbies, and their career scenarios included a beauty salon, a veterinary hospital and a cafe. Besides, as Lyn Mikel Brown wrote in the Huffington Post: “LEGO, of course, already has a perfect product for girls. It's called LEGO, and all they need to do is invite girls to play.”

By  |  01:15 PM ET, 12/30/2011

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