FLINT — Creativity meets technology in the exhibition The Art of Video Games at the Flint Institute of Arts which opened to the public on Oct. 25 and will close on Jan. 18.
This interactive exhibition explores the 40 year progression of video games as an art form and global phenomenon. Visitors can take a journey through 80 video games and enjoy five additional playable games including Super Mario Bros. and Flower.
Organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the exhibition includes elements of selected games projected 12 feet high, accompanied by a chipmusic soundtrack, videos of players interacting with the games as well as the opportunity to play games selected from different eras.
Eighty titles from 20 gaming platforms featured in the exhibition and accompanying book, were chosen by the Smithsonian’s curatorial staff and with votes from 119,000 people representing 175 countries. Playable games include: Pac-Man, Super Mario Brothers, The Secret of Monkey Island, Myst and Flower. These games were selected by the organizers to demonstrate how players interact with the virtual world and because they set the standard for later innovations in game technology.
Chris Melissinos, chief gaming officer for Sun Microsystems and founder of PastPixels, is the guest curator of the exhibition. “Using the cultural lense of an art museum, viewers will be left to determine whether the materials on the display are indeed worthy of the title “art” said Melissinos. “ A majority of visitors will most likely encounter a game that transports them back to their childhoods and tugs at their emotions, or they may learn about an artistic or design intent that they never knew before.
My hope is that people will leave the exhibition with an understanding that video games are so much more than what they first thought.”
“Video game images and the artists who create them are the underlying theme of the exhibition,” says John Henry, Director of the Flint Institute of Arts. “It is a walk through time, beginning with the mechanical and often clumsy early platforms and games, to the sophisticated 3-dimensional gamescapes of today that require a high degree of artistic conceptualization for characters, backgrounds, color, texture and light. These compelling realistic virtual environments place video games in the forefront of art forms of the twenty first century.”
The Flint Institute of Arts is the only Michigan venue for this exhibition that has drawn enthusiastic audiences when it opened at the Smithsonian and at other selected art museums across the US. “A perfect fit for Flint with 4 institutions of higher learning, John Henry says. The exhibition will certainly have wide appeal to the generations of gamers in our area. The influence of video game images and storytelling has saturated our visual world and captured the interest of people of all ages, nationalities, and walks of life. The FIA is grateful to the Friends of Modern Art and Hurley
Medical Center for their generous sponsorships that makes it possible to bring this exhibition to our community.”
Admission to The Art of Video Games is $7 for adults, $5 for students and seniors, FIA and College Town members enter at no charge. Saturdays are FirstMerit Free. Admission to the permanent collection galleries is always free of charge.
The Flint Institute of Arts is located just two blocks off I-475 in the Flint Cultural Center between the University of Michigan-Flint and Mott Community College. Museum hours are Mon–Wed & Fri 12p– 5p; Thu 12p–9p; Sat 10a–5p and Sun 1p-5p. There is a charge for non-members to the exhibition. Saturdays are Target Free.
Details: Visit FlintArts.org, or call 810-234-1695. – G.G.