Whether you’re an art connoisseur or don’t know the “Mona Lisa” from “The Scream,” certain exhibits can bring everyone together. While some may be stunning works that pull emotion from those whose eyes fall upon it, some creative works astound for their ingenuity or strange nature.
The following three art exhibits teeter along the line between being a masterpiece and the work of a madman. They’re also so unique that it’s unlikely you’ve seen anything like them before.
"The Art of the Brick"
We spend so much time worrying about stepping on them that we may have overlooked the artistic properties of LEGO bricks. Thankfully, world-renowned contemporary artist Nathan Sawaya took notice and produced "The Art of the Brick". The touring exhibition put a child’s toy in the spotlight and earned praise from CNN, which called it a “Must See Exhibition.”
The concept behind “The Art of the Brick” sounds simple, but the execution is everything but. Sawaya, the founder of The Art Revolution Foundation, first debuted his LEGO art in 2007 and it has continued to remain on tour. Every piece included in the extensive exhibition is made entirely of LEGOs. From recreations of historical figures like an Egyptian pharaoh to an unmistakable blocky rendition of Batman, Sawaya pulled from all corners of pop culture and real-world experience to develop “The Art of the Brick.” One of his creations even appeared in a Lady Gaga music video.
Though LEGOs are meant to create, Sawaya’s implementation of the colorful child’s toy showcases the unexpected versatility of the plastic bricks. LEGO art isn’t uncommon, but Sawaya’s pieces are complex and will leave viewers pondering the limits of what can be used as art.
“United Nations: United Colors”
At first glimpse of the name, there is no indication that this unusual exhibit will be what it is. Wenda Gu, a conceptual artist from China, is known by Dartmouth College students for his colorful pieces. One of his most unusual is “United Nations: United Colors,” a companion to the equally eccentric “United Nations: The Green House.”
The two pieces, which comprise one large display at Dartmouth, were made from 420 pounds of an unusual material. For “United Nations: United Colors,” Gu collected 420 pounds of human hair from Dartmouth students, staff, faculty, and Hanover, New Hampshire, residents and had them shipped to China. There, the hair was coated with Elmer’s glue and different colored dye to prep it for the considerably large display.
As part of “United Nations: The Green House,” “United Nations: United Colors” is located along the Main Street corridor in the Berry Library. A 6-mile-long colorful braid is marked by stainless steel tags that bear the names of all countries in the United Nations. Except the names are spelled backward.
It’s not the kind of art exhibit you expect to find at an Ivy League school, but to be fair, “United Nations: United Colors” is not something you’d expect to find anywhere.
“The Otherworld Encounter”
Though “The Otherworld Encounter” was a limited showing that ran its course at The Fairgrounds Nashville, it’s the kind of exhibit worth talking about weeks, months, and even years later. Exhibit builder Jamie Whitlow enlisted the help of her parents to help bring to life a 10,000-square-foot immersive exhibit that combined the best of art and fantasy.
“The Otherworld Encounter” sends guests on an interstellar journey filled with neon lighting and clever use of materials. Visitors start with an opening video before entering into what’s been dubbed a “colorful psychedelic playground.” More than just a stationary exhibit filled with monstrous extraterrestrials and environments perfect for the science-fiction genre, Whitlow’s display was as interactive as things get.
A virtual reality experience, simulated thunderstorm, 360-degree space dome, and a Top Secret Garden make up four of the 18 rooms, which feature 25 installations. The collaborative effort brought the awes and wonders of space to Earth, giving visitors the chance to “explore, touch, feel, smell, swing, and be part of the art.”
Bizarre art exhibits
From virtual reality to hair to LEGO, there’s no limit on artistic expression. Take a minute to check out these exhibits! They’re one-of-a-kind, and they’ll make a great talking point the next time someone brings up the art world.