You may have heard the controversy surrounding Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei, who was refused a request for a bulk order of Lego by the Danish company, meant for his upcoming Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, due to the artwork’s “political agenda”.
Since news of the Lego Group’s refusal emerged through Ai’s Instagram account last month, the artist has decided to make a new work in response, to defend freedom of speech and “political art”. In support of the new project, thousands of people have offered to donate their Lego, and now the Art Gallery of NSW has jumped on board as the official drop-off point for NSW.
The artist’s initial request for Lego was for a major new installation for the NGV’s upcoming exhibition, Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei, to open in December 2015. The original installation was to be mosaic portraits of 20 Australian human-rights activists, including Geoffrey Robertson QC and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
"We thought it important to be involved in the project as part of our role is to support the broader artistic community and especially our art museum partners such as the NGV," said a spokesperson for AGNSW. There is a red BMW parked out the front of the Gallery and visitors are encouraged to donate Lego blocks by dropping them through the sunroof. Postal donations can also be sent to the Art Gallery of NSW via Ai Weiwei Lego Project, Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney NSW 2000.
Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei will show at the National Gallery of Victoria from 11 December 2015 to 24 April 2016.