The Smithsonian is tapping into the world of video games for a new exhibition. “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 striking graphics, creative storytelling and player interactivity.
The exhibition at The Smithsonian American Art Museum will run from March 16 through Sept. 30 and will feature some of the most influential artists and designers across five areas of game development — from early pioneers to contemporary designers.
Video games use player participation to tell stories and engage audiences. In the same way as film, animation and performance, video games are a compelling and influential form of narrative art.
Chris Melissinos, former chief evangelist and chief gaming officer for Sun Microsystems Inc. and founder of PastPixels, is the guest curator of the exhibition. Georgina Goodlander, the museum’s social media and web content manager, is the exhibition coordinator. The exhibition will travel to several cities in the U.S. following its run in D.C.
“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.”