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Ai WeiweiLego Collection Point

  • Exhibition

  • November 16, 2015 - May 16, 2016

MASS MoCA was a cultural institution invited to participate in Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s Lego Collection Point. After Lego refused the Ai Weiwei Studio’s request for a bulk order of Legos, Weiwei posted the company’s response on Instagram on October 23, triggering a flood of responses on social media criticizing Lego for “censorship and discrimination.” Thousands of supporters offered to donate used Legos to the artist. In response to the outpouring of interest, Weiwei created a systematic collection network for gathering donated Legos. He chose MASS MoCA and more than a dozen museums and cultural institutions around the world to participate as a Lego Collection Point.

Weiwei designates organizations to station a BMW car, provided by the artist, near their entrance, with its windows cracked, to allow donors to fill the cars with Legos, thus appropriating the ultimate corporate icon as an irony-rich, ultra-luxurious Lego piggy bank. This project, like many of Weiwei’s works, reflects his engagement with political and social issues — in particular, freedom of speech — and his nimble exploitation of social media to communicate with a broad audience.

A BMW was positioned outside MASS MoCA’s front entrance and visitors were invited to drop Legos into the car’s open windows. Legos collected were sent to the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, where Weiwei will use them to design a series of flags for an upcoming exhibition.