Ai Weiwei is among the most important, lauded, and popular contemporary artists in the world, whose works often involve unconventional.
Ai Weiwei is among the most important, lauded, and popular contemporary artists in the world, whose works often involve unconventional materials refashioned into subtle and not-so-subtle critiques of fascism and repression. Unsurprisingly, the government of his home country, China, isn’t too much of a fan.
Also not a fan, apparently: Lego. When Weiwei recently placed a large order for blocks to be used in an Australian art piece, the Danish toymaker declined, citing a policy against involvement in any political work. (Though China is an emerging market for Lego, the Associated Press points out that the policy likely stems from the time the company inadvertently sponsored a Polish artist’s Holocaust-themed playsets.)
So the Art Gallery of Ontario, along with several other international institutions, is collecting Lego donations on Weiwei’s behalf. Per his studio’s instructions, the blocks are to be tossed through the sunroof of a second-hand BMW 5S Series sedan and since Friday, just such a car has been parked outside the AGO at Dundas and McCaul, ready to take your excess bricks. It’ll stick around through January 3, with the roof open during regular gallery hours, weather permitting.
In 2013, Toronto played host to a trio of Weiwei exhibits: a blockbuster retrospective at the AGO, a dizzying wall of bicycles at Nuit Blanche, and a dozen animal heads ringing the Nathan Phillips Square reflecting pool.
Even Rob Ford thought that last one was cool.