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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Ai Weiwei Has Started Instagramming the Portraits Lego Didn't Want to Fund

Flys in the face of fiddly little brick manufacturer.
By Lauren Vadnjal
November 20, 2015
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By Lauren Vadnjal
November 20, 2015
  shares

Guys, we did it. We helped art happen in the face of corporate suckiness. You may remember how last month Lego refused to fulfil Chinese artist and political commentator Ai Weiwei's order for bulk bricks on the grounds that they “cannot approve the use of Legos for political works”. This bizarre and freedom of speech denying move — one that should shock nobody who’s ever stood barefoot on a tiny plastic brick — came just two months before Weiwei's huge blockbuster summer exhibition at Melbourne's National Gallery of Victoria, Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei, which will kick off on December 11.

When news broke of Lego's tyrannical response, it wasn’t long before the good people of the internet were offering up their own Legos for Weiwei’s use instead. So what did Weiwei do? He announced that he would be collecting donated Lego in different cities to create the exhibition anyway. A collection point was set up in in the NGV sculpture garden in Melbourne as a repository for the Lego blocks. Donors were encouraged to bring in their Lego blocks and drop them through the sunroof of a car parked in the garden. And it worked.

In the wee hours of this morning, Weiwei started posting images of his new artworks to Instagram. The portraits are of activists who fight for human rights and free speech, and so far include privacy activist Edward Snowden and the Republic of The Gambia's opposition treasurer, Amadou Sanneh.

A photo posted by Ai Weiwei (@aiww) on

A photo posted by Ai Weiwei (@aiww) on

A photo posted by Ai Weiwei (@aiww) on

We love you Weiwei.

Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei comes to the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne from December 11 to April 24, in collaboration with The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh. For info and tickets, head to the NGV website.

Words: Imogen Baker and Lauren Vadnjal

Published on November 20, 2015 by Lauren Vadnjal

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