(MEMPHIS, TN) – Have you ever considered Pac-Man or Super Mario Brothers art? A new exhibition visiting the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art is stretching the “traditional” definition of art.
The Art of Video Games is a traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian American Art Museum that explores the evolution of home video games during the past 40 years. Home video games combines traditional art forms such as painting, writing, sculpture, music, and storytelling. Video games also provide a new way of communicating with several different audiences.
The Art of Video Games features 20 different gaming systems from the 1970s Atari VCS to the modern Playstation 3. The SAAM and Chris Melissinos, founder of Past Pixels and collector of video games and gaming systems, planned the exhibition together. Melissinos selected 240 games he felt reflected the artistic potential of the medium. He then conducted a public poll to help determine games the public considered to be most important and influential. Nearly 120,000 people from 175 countries participated in the poll and 3.7 million votes were cast for their favorite video games.
A total of 85 examples were selected which demonstrates the evolution of video games. During the exhibition’s inaugural run at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, more than 680,000 people toured the exhibition. The exhibition features the games through still images, videos, video interviews with developers and artists, large prints of in-game screenshots, and game consoles.
“Everyone who plays a game puts a little of themselves into the experiences, and takes away something that is wholly unique,” says Melissinos, who is also the curator of the exhibition. “This conversation among the game, the artist, and the player is critical to understanding video games as art.”
Five games from each era of video game evolution are featured and are playable at the exhibit. Visitors will get the chance to relive their childhood and share their favorite games with a younger generation. These five featured games are Pac-Man, Super Mario Brothers, The Secret of Monkey Island, Myst, and Flower.
The Art of Video Games is being featured at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art beginning Saturday, June 6. Visitors and museum members have until September 13, 2015 to open their minds to a new art form – the art of video games.
The Art of Video Games is organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum with generous support from the Entertainment Software Association Foundation; Sheila Duignan and Mike Wilkins; Shelby and Frederick Gans; Mark Lamia; Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk; Rose Family Foundation; Betty and Lloyd Schermer; and Neil Young. The C.F. Foundation in Atlanta supports the museum’s traveling exhibition program, Treasures to Go.