'The Art of Video Games' Opens at Museum
November 9, 2012

'The Art of Video Games' Opens at Museum

EMP to host the Smithsonian American Art Museum's exhibit on video game art.

SEATTLE — Organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, The Art of Video Games is one of the first major exhibitions to explore the 40-year evolution of video games as an artistic medium. With a focus on graphics, creative storytelling, and player interactivity, the exhibit features the work of some of the most influential artists and designers of game development, from early pioneers to contemporary designers. The Art of Video Games will be on display at EMP February 15, 2013 through May 12, 2013. 

Chris Melissinos, former chief evangelist and chief gaming officer for Sun Microsystems and founder of PastPixels, guest-curated the exhibition. “Video games are a prevalent and increasingly expressive medium within modern society,” said Melissinos. “In the 40 years since the introduction of the first home-video game, the field has attracted exceptional artistic talent. Video games, which include classic components of art, offer designers a previously unprecedented method of communicating with and engaging audiences by including a new element—the player—who completes the vivid, experiential art form by personally interacting with the game elements.”

The Art of Video Games features 80 video games that demonstrate how the medium has evolved. Presented through still images, video footage, historic game consoles, large prints of in-game screen shots, and video interviews with developers and artists, the exhibit focuses on the interplay of graphics, technology, and storytelling through some of the best games for 20 gaming systems ranging from the Atari VCS to the PlayStation 3. 

Featured games spanning five eras will be available for hands-on use. Pac-Man, Super Mario Brothers, The Secret of Monkey Island, Myst, and Flower allow players to interact with virtual worlds and highlight the innovative techniques used by their developers that set the standard for many subsequent games. 

The Art of Video Games is organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum with generous support from 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.”