Photos: New LEGO art exhibit opens in Times Square

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

NEW YORK (AP) -- A new art exhibition opened Friday in New York's Times Square featuring work that even a child could build.

"The Art of the Brick," billed as "the world's biggest and most elaborate display of LEGO art ever," features original LEGO sculptures by artist Nathan Sawaya in which he explores themes of imagination and personal transformation.

"You can build what's not on the front of the box; what's in your imagination," said Sawaya. "That's what this exhibition is about, hopefully inspiring kids to create whatever they can imagine."

This summer's exhibition also showcases LEGO-based recreations of iconic artwork and sculptures, such as Vincent van Gogh's "Starry Night" and the Egyptian Bust of Nefertiti.

It's "a great way for kids to be introduced to art history through a medium they're familiar with," said Sawaya. "And it became a real challenging thing, because some of these works of art are so iconic. Everyone's familiar with 'David' or 'The Mona Lisa' or the 'Venus de Milo,' but I wanted to try to recreate them out of LEGO."

"Nobody told him which pieces to use. He just figured out which pieces would work best. And that was pretty cool," said 12-year-old LEGO enthusiast Leandra Pestcoe.

Heather Roach, who holds a LEGO robotics competition for kids in Anchorage, Alaska, raved of the possibilities that LEGO bricks present.

"What's not possible?" she wondered. "It's whatever you can think of. It's creative. It allows students or individuals to - whatever's in their mind they can put it together. So the sky's the limit."

The exhibit runs until January 2014.