By-the-Numbers Factsheet and Background on the Artist & Exhibit
Half-a-million LEGO bricks
27 sculptures steel-reinforced, glued, & coated with special UV-protectant
14 displays throughout the Garden
5,000 hours how long it took the artist and his team to create
60-pound bumblebee (16,383 bricks)
5-foot wingspan Swallowtail butterfly (37,481 bricks)
7-foot-tall red rose (41,242 bricks)
8 feet in the air hummingbird (31,565 bricks)
Largest: 7-foot-long life-size bison (45,143 bricks)
Smallest: 5-inch-tall goldfinches (575 bricks each)
HOW DO THEY STAND UP?
Each sculpture has an internal structure built with steel rods and plates, which provide support and balance for the large works.
ARE THEY GLUED?
Yes — surrounding the support structure, each sculpture is constructed entirely from LEGO bricks, glued together using only the connections of the bricks, one at a time. For this show, Sean Kenney and his small studio used 4 gallons of glue.
HOW IS THE GLUE STRONG ENOUGH?
Sean uses an organic welding agent to connect the LEGO pieces together. It works by liquefying the surfaces where pieces are to be bonded, merging these liquids, and allowing the combined liquid to solidify, changing separate pieces into one continuous solid.
DOES KENNEY BUILD FREE-HAND?
Sean Kenney designed his own graph paper in the shape and size of LEGO bricks, on which to sketch his ideas. He draws them out and adjusts his lines to fit to the corners and edges made by the overlapping rectangles.
WHICH BRICKS DOES HE USE?
Sean uses only the basic rectangular and flat LEGO bricks for his sculptures, and only in readily available colors — no special colors or shapes, with a few exceptions: the eyes on the frog are made from LEGO Mini-Fig helmets, and the buttons on the garden worker’s shirt are circular.
HOW ARE THEY TRANSPORTED?
Museum-quality crates, built by an art-handling company near Sean’s studio in New York City, were also commissioned to ship and store each of the sculptures as the exhibition travels to other locations in the next few years.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO BUILD THE EXHIBIT?
When adding up the time spent creating this exhibition, Sean Kenney figured out that, if an individual were to work 40 hours a week, from start to finish, it would take 2.5 years. He did it in 8 months!
HE DOES THIS FOR A LIVING?!
As an adult with a desk job for 10 years, he would come home from the office every day and play with his LEGO bricks. One day he literally hung up his tie, left the office, and devoted his life to merging his interest in the visual arts with his love of LEGO toys. Learn more about Sean Kenney.