2011: A Year in Legos

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This year's been big for our favorite plastic brick. The Lego empire kicked the year off with a viral marketing campaign of Lego-themed movie posters and national monuments, and this month, artist and nicknamed Lego Man, Nathan Sawaya, brought his creations to Mesa Contemporary Arts. 

The exhibition, writes New Times' contributor Robrt Pela, plays it safe. Sawaya is well-known in the art and pop culture worlds for his choice of medium and subject. Pela writes:

Sawaya is selling something more than nostalgia for old playthings -- his work often depicts deeply disturbing images of great pain and despair: a big yellow man ripping open his own chest, his head tilted in a howl; a figure carrying the lifeless body of another; a man frozen inside a giant ice cube. 

The tension created by depicting all this angst with a child's toy is missing from the Mesa show, a theme exhibit depicting some of the safer corners of '60s pop culture. "Nathan Sawaya: An American Legocy" plays it safe and is, therefore, not especially interesting.

Read the full story here, and check out the year's moments of good, bad and ugly, staged and photographed by L.A. Weekly's L.J. Williamson.

5. The end of Osama Bin Laden (1957-2011)

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