Play Well

Instagramed images of lego sculptures paired with the Per Kirkeby paintings that inspired them

Left to right: Lego man amidst the trees by Margaret Collerd, inspired by Per Kirkeby’s Untitled (2009); Climbing Shadows by Amy Wike, inspired by Per Kirkeby’s New Shadows V (1996); Fire Engine #5 by Michelle Herman, inspired by Per Kirkeby’s Inferno V (1992)

Phillips staff with bins of legos, creating sculptures

Phillips staff use images from Per Kirkeby’s exhibition to inspire Lego sculptures.

Did you know that LEGO is an abbreviation of two Danish words–“leg godt”–meaning “play well”? Neither did I! But I took this inspiring etymology to heart when developing a Lego challenge for the upcoming January 3 Arctic Expedition Phillips after 5. Inspired by Danish artist Per Kirkeby’s layered colorful abstractions, Phillips staff built our own Lego sculptures. Like kids on Christmas morning, we spread out on my office floor with focused attention to come up with our own Lego creations and Instagram them.

On January 3, you have a chance to “play well,” and win a host of prizes! Visit the museum during Phillips after 5 (5–8:30 pm; be sure to make a reservation) and peruse the Per Kirkeby: Paintings and Sculpture exhibition for inspiration. Then stop by the Lego tables, build your own sculpture, and share it on Instagram with the title of your choice and #PhillipsPlaysWell. You’ll be entered to win great prizes, including a Phillips Contemporaries membership, tickets to The Kennedy Center’s Nordic Cool festival opening concert, a one-year Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) membership, and more. Follow us on Instagram (@phillipscollection) for some pre-event inspiration.

Margaret Collerd,  Public Programs and In-gallery Interpretation Coordinator

Winter Cheer, Danish-Style

Photos: Joshua Navarro

Last week’s Phillips after 5 –a Winter Fairy Tale inspired by Per Kirkeby‘s native Denmark–truly had what the Danes call “HYGGE.” Guests sipped aquavit, listened to jazz piano by Søren Møller and saxophone by Dick Oatts, and most of all enjoyed time with each other and with art. Ambassador Peter Taksøe-Jensen even came by with his spouse Gitte Wallin Pedersen to soak up the atmosphere. Next month, the Embassy of Denmark will be back for another Kirkeby-inspired evening, this time an “Arctic Expedition.”

Holiday Hygge

Holiday decorations at the Royal Danish Embassy celebrate Per Kirkeby and other Danish artists and creatives. Photos: Brooke Rosenblatt; Photo collage: Amy Wike

Holiday decorations at the Royal Danish Embassy celebrate Per Kirkeby and other Danish artists and creatives. Photos: Brooke Rosenblatt; Photo collage: Amy Wike

In Denmark, gathering with friends to celebrate the season is very important. There’s a special word for it–HYGGE (\ hoo • gah \ – is it just us or does the word sound a little bit like a hug?). Today, you can gather Danish-style at the Royal Danish Embassy’s Creative Christmas open house from 3 to 5 pm (no tickets required), where you will catch glimpses of Per Kirkeby throughout the decorations. Then continue the festivities at Phillips after 5: Winter Fairy Tale from 5 to 8:30 pm (for this, you will need to make a reservation). We’ll offer smørrebrød tastings by Embassy Executive Chef Lars Beese, screenings of The Fir Tree, gallery talks in the Kirkeby exhibition, and music by New York-based Danish jazz pianist Søren Møller with American saxophonist Dick Oatts. To gather with friends the way we will this evening is very Danish. With you, we’ll truly have HYGGE.