By Jeff Swenson
As I’ve mentioned before, I collect pop culture bibles such as The Action Bible or The Picture Bible. Yesterday, I was at Barnes and Noble and in the “value” section I found The Brick Bible by Brendan Powell Smith. A Bible completely illustrated with Legos. There are two volumes, one for the Old Testament and one for the New Testament. I was able to grab the Old Testament.
As an artistic accomplishment, The Brick Bible is amazing considering how much work must have gone into it. As a spiritual reference, it’s ridiculous. I was amused by the quote on the inside flap from The Washington Post: “Our evolving forms of religious expression may be unsettling, but it’s hard to find fault with Brendan Smith’s whimsical artwork…” Whimsical doesn’t quite describe it. The facial expressions on the characters are hilarious and got me to thinking it would be like illustrating the Bible with South Park characters.
This isn’t what I would call evolution but a regression to pop culture over fine art. The advantage of classical art is that it gives Biblical themes (as well as mythological themes) validity, whether you take them literally or for for spiritual truths and moral teachings. Depicting Abraham about to sacrifice his son Isaac for god with Legos is absurd. I’m actually jealous; this should have been done by an unbeliever as it breaks through the illusion of factual history and holiness which we have come to know by touting ancient writings, medieval art and “heavenly” choir music. Classical art has fooled us and Legos demonstrates that what we are reading is a bunch of fairytales not to be taken seriously.
I do recommend picking up The Brick Bible, it is fascinating and humorous to look at. It’s nice to see an artist show Adam and Eve nude as described in the Bible except I guess there is no such thing as Lego genitalia or even Lego boobs (although, after “the fall,” I see Lego cleavage).