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The Art of Video Games on view at Toledo Museum of Art
The Art of Video Games exhibition at the Toledo Museum of Art. Photo: Andrew Weber.
TOLEDO, OH.- The Smithsonian American Art Museum’s groundbreaking exhibition, The Art of Video Games, travels to the Toledo Museum of Art this summer. An exploration of the first 40 years of the home console, from Atari VCS to PlayStation 3, the popular exhibition opens in Toledo on June 19 and continues through Sept. 28. Admission is free.

“In the same way as film, animation and performance, the video game is a compelling and influential form of narrative art that uses player participation to tell stories and engage audiences,” said TMA Director Brian Kennedy. “For those who grew up with these early video games, part of the attraction is nostalgic, but everyone can appreciate how artists have expressed their talents through this relatively new medium.”

Some of the most influential of those artists and designers across five eras of game development, from early pioneers to contemporary designers, are featured.

One of the first major exhibitions to explore the evolution of video games as an artistic medium, The Art of Video Games was one of the most successful exhibitions ever held at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. TMA is the only site in Ohio where the touring exhibition will be shown.

The exhibition uses 80 of the best games for 20 gaming systems, selected by the public, to demonstrate the evolution of the art medium. Games are presented through still images and video footage. Multimedia elements convey the excitement and complexity of video games. Also featured are video interviews with developers and artists, historic game consoles and large prints of in-game screen shots.

In addition, the exhibition contains five games visitors may play to gain a feel for the medium’s interactivity with virtual worlds.

“By focusing on four game types—action, adventure, target and combat/strategy—The Art of Video Games reveals their emergence as a means of storytelling and audience engagement,” said Amy Gilman, TMA’s associate director and curator of contemporary and modern art. “Visitors can connect with the content of the show across generations, from those who remember classics such as Pac-Man and Super Mario Brothers, to more recent games like Flower and Super Mario Galaxy 2.”

The playable games—Pac-Man, Super Mario Brothers, The Secret of Monkey Island, Myst and Flower—highlight the innovative techniques that set the standard for many subsequent games.






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