Friday, December 21, 2012

Book Review: I LEGO NY

I LEGO NY by Christoph Niemann, 2010, Abrams Image.

Christoph Niemann is an artist whose work has been on the cover of the New Yorker, Wired, The New York Times Magazine and American Illustration. He's got a regular New York Times pictorial column, Abstract Sunday that takes a really fun whimsical outlook on the world. At one point he lived (or still does, I'm not sure) in Berlin, but his thoughts were stuck in New York City. A few years ago he was playing LEGO with his sons and started making some models of his home town. The result was a column I LEGO NY.

873 comments later, he knew he'd hit upon something. He made some more models, and the result was the book I LEGO NY. This little thirty page board book is full of whimsical models that celebrate New York City life. The thing to note, though, is that this really isn't a LEGO book. It's a New York book. As a set of LEGO models, there's not much here. The arrangement of simple blocks evokes they subject matter rather than depicts it, as, for example, a cluster of 1x2 bricks representing a traffic jam at the entry to the Holland Tunnel.

The people that would most appreciate the allusions are New Yorkers, or probably even more so New York expatriates who miss their home. However, even as someone who has only been to New York for a few brief visits, the city is so much in the American consciousness from the numerous TV shows and movies set there that I understood all of the references.

Even though this is a board book, it's not for kids. Not that there is anything objectionable to the content, it's just that kids would not get the point of the pictures - they're just too abstract. I suspect that this is a board book to give it a little heft. At only thirty pages, as a paper book it would be little more than a pamphlet.

This is a fun little book. More of a stocking stuffer gift for that New Yorker in your life. It's a nice little conversation starter to leave out on your coffee table.

MicroBricks-specific content Most of the little MOCs in this are at microscale.

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