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Norton's Take on Artful Architecture

Monique Boileau
Artist Dan Parker assembles a LEGO version of the Space Needle.

   This year’s Norton Museum of Art summer exhibitions celebrate small and large-scale achievements of modern architecture with "Block by Block: Inventing Amazing Architecture" and "Architecture in Detail: Works from the Museum Collection."

   In "Block by Block," artist Dan Parker transforms massive marvels of the architecture world into four- to nine-foot sculptures of LEGO building bricks. One of the pioneers of the LEGO Certified Professionals program, Parker works in all types of construction, exploring contemporary art and architecture, historic themes and pop culture. Parker and his Seattle-based company, Toy Building Group, have produced more than 3,000 miniature mosaic, sculptural and mechanical works for commissions, events and education programs.
   "Block by Block: Inventing Amazing Architecture" will feature 10 architectural wonders, including the Seattle Space Needle; Dubai's Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world; and One World Trade Center in New York. LEGO replicas of the Hearst Tower in New York and the Gherkin in London were assembled exclusively for the Norton, as the museum is working on its new master campus plan with Foster + Partners, the architecture firm that designed the original structures.
   Parker and TBG also take part in educational outreach and encourage children and families to build with them at their headquarters. With Parker’s help, the Norton has planned summer programming that promotes creativity and ingenuity, including a hands-on lesson in LEGO architecture and a Family Block Party, during which Parker will discuss LEGO as an art medium and lead participants in a group build.

Columbus Circle, New York,
by Colin Campbell Cooper

   "Architecture in Detail" accompanies "Block by Block," featuring a variety of prints, photographs and paintings that pay tribute to the masterworks of architecture. Pieces by Stuart Davis, John Marin, Vic Muniz and many others have been carefully curated to communicate the beauty and achievements of architecture.
   In the early twentieth century, the sprawling urban landscape of America was increasingly interrupted by towering skyscrapers that inspired awe and wonder in the minds of many artists. As innovations like the steel frame made it possible to construct taller buildings, international style architects were able to execute previously unimaginable structures. The paintings and photographs on display at the Norton at once celebrate and question the elegance and purpose of these manmade wonders.
   Both "Architecture in Detail" and "Brick by Brick" will be on display June 20 through October 20. Each will feature a series of architecture-related activities, including the Family Block Party on August 8 and a lecture on the history of the skyscraper by Norton Assistant Director James B. Hall on October 20.

 

A LEGO version of New York's Flat Iron Building

 

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