According to artist/provocateur Ai Weiwei’s Instagram account, Lego refused to fulfill a bulk order placed by the Ai Weiwei Studio that was to be used in the creation of artworks for display at Australia’s National Gallery of Victoria. From Weiwei’s post:
“In June 2015 Ai Weiwei Studio began to design artworks which would have required a large quantity of Lego bricks to produce. The works were planned for the exhibition “Andy Warhol / Ai Weiwei” at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, to open in December 2015. The artworks’ concept relates to freedom of speech.”
But after the museum’s curatorial team reached out to place the order, they received a reply from Lego informing them that, due to corporate policy surrounding the use of the Lego trademark in political or other artworks, they would not be supplying the bulk order. Ai Weiwei responded with the above image of Legos in the toilet, referencing Duchamp, and a caption sardonically referencing the theme song from the recent Lego Movie: “everything is awesome.”
But it looks like the artist is going to get his Legos, regardless, taking this obstacle and turning it into another art opportunity. Yesterday, he took to Instagram once again, announcing his new intentions:
“In response to Lego’s refusal and the overwhelming public response, Ai Weiwei has now decided to make a new work to defend freedom of speech and “political art”. Ai Weiwei Studio will announce the project description and Lego collection points in different cities.”
In a series of posts shared since, the ‘collection points’ have been revealed to be the location of very specific Lego collection containers: “a BMW 5S Series sedan, of which the color can vary.” Ai Weiwei plans to leave these cars parked in a central location for a month or longer with a sunroof fixed to remain open, just large enough for people to drop in their Lego donations. Cities and location of these Lego containers will be revealed on Twitter and Instagram for those who have Legos to contribute.