Explore It – Lego, Masters, and Dumplings, oh my

TL;DR – Today, I explore the current exhibits at the GOMA and Science Museum  

Disclosure – I paid for entry into both Brickman® Wonders of the World and the European Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York exhibits.

Image Credit: Brian MacNamara.


Well, when I put in leave at my work to take some much needed time off, I thought I would plan a grand escape to the city, with all that would entail. That was indeed the plan, but then the Delta strand decided that it was time for another lockdown and that people really didn’t need that nice public holiday. This, of course, put all of my plans up in the air, but after the lockdown was lifted, I did get to spend one morning out and about, which we will see today.

Please Note: I was following all Queensland Government guidelines when out and about, including social distancing, signing in to every location, wearing a mask at all times, and regularly sanitising my hands.  

Image Credit: Brian MacNamara.
Time for some Science

We begin our jaunt by arriving at Brisbane’s cultural precinct, where the first place you’ll see is the Science Museum. As you approach, you are welcomed by the giant humpback whales hanging from the ceiling. Several attractions were on, including ‘What lies ahead for Zenadth Kes’, an exploration of life in the Torres Strait, which I found utterly fascinating.

by Ryan ‘Brickman’ McNaught
Mount Rushmore is looking grand

The other exhibit was Brickman® Wonders of the World, which I was intrigued to see in person. I had seen Ryan ‘Brickman’ McNaught as a judge on Lego Masters, so I wanted to see what his and his team’s creations were like in the real world. What I found was that they were a complete delight.     

There were many builds on show, including a three-meter design of the Tokyo subway system that instantly made me want to go back and revisit Japan. One of the big things I like was seeing all the world’s wonders be brought into Lego form. As someone who has played a lot [okay too much] Civilisation, I did enjoy seeing all these familiar places in Lego, like the above Mausoleum at Halicarnassus and St. Basil’s Cathedral. You also get to see all the little tips he has given up close and personal. For example, incorporating a story into the builds makes people explore every facet of the build and a lot of SNOT. The Brickman® Wonders of the World exhibit is open at the time of writing until 4 October 2021, and I would recommend a visit, especially if you have younger kids.   

Image by Brian MacNamara
Daryl the Muttaburrasaurus

Before I left, I did, of course, have to spend some time in the Dinosaur wing, because let’s be honest, I will never not turn down Dinosaurs.  

With this exhibit, you have your something old, and something new, also something borrowed, you just need to bring the blue.

From here, it was a nice walk by the river to the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) to see an exhibition of the European Masters of Old.  

This was one of those moments where you get to see the intersection between the real and digital. I had seen many of these paintings before with images in film or through photos online. But then there is a presence seeing them up close, seeing the brushstrokes and the texture of the canvas, or even the slight crackle of the varnish. Seeing it up close, you get to see details that you might have missed, like the shadowing figure in Edgar Degas’s Dancers, Pink and Green, or the countryside details in Claude Lorrain’s (Claude Gellée’s) Sunrise.

As you move through the gallery, it starts off a little bit dark and almost confined, slowly opening up as we progress through the years. I am not sure if this is a purposeful depiction of art being relatively closed off and formalised before slowly opening up over time or just a coincidence of the gallery’s structure, but it was effective. My favourite painting came almost at the end of the exhibition, with Alfred Sisley’s The Bridge at Villeneuve-la-Garenne. It is an impressionistic work that looks very conventional from afar but more abstract the closer you get. There is also a playfulness and joy to the painting like it was capturing the perfect summer day. Also, to be honest, I would be lying if I didn’t say that it also gave me big Ghibli vibes.

The final painting in the tour is one of Claude Monet’s later Water Lilies. It is here where I got stopped in my tracks. I had seen many paintings of the Water Lilies before, even one in person. However, they don’t prepare you for the raw emotion that you see on the canvas. The painting is quite beautiful with its contrast of colour and dark to create almost a neon effect in the lilies. Besides the beauty, you also feel a deep sadness, paintbrush strokes full of frustration, the darkness showing the world closing in as Monet lost his sight. It is rare that a painting could evoke such a feeling for me, but here it was. At the time of writing, the European Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York exhibit is open at GOMA until 17 October 2021, and yes, I would recommend a visit.

A winter’s day in Brisbane.

While there were more museums that I wanted to visit, they were still not open, so I had to make do with a walk across the bridge on a beautiful winter’s day to get some retail therapy done in the CBD. Including buying a new set of dice … the last ones know what they did.

Time for some yum.

Finally, after a long joyful day, I finished with the traditional dumplings before making the long trip home.         

By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.

Have you visited the Queensland Museum or GOMA?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us
Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day. 

Credits – All images are by the author. All works are by the individual artists.  


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