Smithsonian to celebrate The Art of Video Games with exhibition and tour

Add plus-one for the recognition of videogames as art: the Smithsonian has announced The Art of Video Games, an exhibition on “the 40-year evolution of video games as an artistic medium, with a focus on striking graphics, creative storytelling and player interactivity.” The Smithsonian American Art Museum will host this exhibition from March 16 to September 30, with a tour across five states to follow.

The exhibit has a passionate curator in Chris Melissinos, the man behind much of Sun Microsystems’s open-source Java technology. According to Melissinos, video games incorporate many classic components of art, as well as “a new element, the player, who completes the vivid, experiential art form by personally interacting with the game elements.”

The exhibition kicks off on March 16 with GameFest, featuring presentations by industry ground-breakers, such as Atari founder Nolan Bushnell, Bioshock’s Ken Levine, and Bioware Senior Creative Director Paul Barnett. A full schedule is available online, as is a preview of the exhibition's accompanying book.

As a Smithsonian exhibit, the The Art of Video Games is publicly funded, and is also accepting donations. Anyone who gives to support the project will have their name featured in the exhibition’s “credits,” both online and at the museum. Those who wish to have their name associated with “one of the first exhibitions in the world to explore the evolution of video games as an artistic medium,” can donate here.

Alex Roth