10.25.14 – 1.18.15
Hodge & Temporary Exhibition Galleries
The Art of Video Games is one of the first exhibitions to explore the 40-year evolution of video games as an artistic medium, with a focus on striking visual effects and the creative use of new technologies. From early pioneers to contemporary designers, this exhibition features some of the most influential artists throughout five eras of game technology. The exhibition focuses on the interplay of graphics, technology, and storytelling through a variety of popular games for 20 gaming systems ranging from the Atari VCS to PlayStation 3.
In the 40 years since the introduction of the first home video game, the field has attracted exceptional artistic talent. A combination of traditional art forms—painting, writing, sculpture, music, storytelling, and cinematography—video games provide artists with a previously unprecedented method of communicating with and engaging audiences. Developments in hardware and software, as well as the advent of the Internet, have given artists an ever-widening palette of tools with which to create.
Presenting the games through still images and video footage, the exhibition sheds light on the prevalent and increasing nature of this medium within modern society. In addition, the galleries will include video interviews with 20 developers and artists, demonstrations in the advancements of mechanics in game development, and historic game consoles. Five featured games, one from each era, are playable on larger-than-life screens in the exhibition space. These games include Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros., The Secret of Monkey Island, Myst, and Flower.
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.