Video Games Are Now Art... Finally!

As far as I'm concerned the 'are video games art' conversation is about flaccid as it gets, and I have no intention of engaging with it, but the Smithsonian American Art Museum is currently running an exhibition titled 'The Art of Video Games'. Just sayin'.

Museums displaying video games as art is hardly a new thing, but apparently 'The Art of Video Games' is the first gaming exhibition to ever be shown in a major American Museum, and apparently it has become so overwhelmingly popular that the show is going on the road to ten other museums throughout the US.

"You could say video games are a great grassroots expression of culture and in some cases art in our democracy," said Betsy Broun, Director of the Smithsonian. "I guess what surprised me was just the sort of joyful excitement in the games.

"One time a single game was offered for sale and sold six million copies in one day; you know. that's more people than go to the Met in a year. So when you begin to understand how pervasive it is, I guess the bigger question is, why did we wait so long?"


Also, if you have time, I thoroughly recommend heading to the Smithsonian's YouTube page, which features interviews with Henry Jenkins and Ken Levine among others.

The art of video games [CBS]


    harmless plug for binary zoo
    :) there my fav art games

    Maybe one day the future generations will learn about video games in Art class instead of a hack artists like Pollock who spit on a canvas' and call it Art?

    I'm sure some Art major will heavily disagree with the lesser statement though preaching about expressionism and minimalism argh.

    So, what. In the museum they just run Let's Play videos?

    Um... the title, "The Art of Games", doesn't signify that games are being recognised as art, it's signify that they contain art. The Art of Picasso doesn't mean Picasso himself is art, but that he has art associated with him (because he painted it).

    That games contain art has never been debated. That the medium of video games is itself a medium of art is what is being debated.

    Yes video games are art ,but they are made for the people, not for The people to admire :) difference!!!! When ever someone makes a shitty game and calls it artistic i cry for the future ;(

    I assume an invitation has been sent to Roger Ebert?

    Video games are more art than art itself.

    In a slight tangent from the actual content of the article:

    I'm kind of sick of this whole debate thing myself. Both sides we're way too extreme. I hate the whole "videogames are art" catch cry of the side I lean towards. Its stupid. Some videogames are art. Some are merely artistic. Some are kitsch. Any of those things can be made by an artist or a trash compactor. "Videogames are art" is like saying paintings are art, like there is some quality to paint that makes it inherently artistic. Bullshite. Paint'by'numbers is not art - its a derivative embarrassment to the creator, who is so lacking in imagine they need their colors and lines chosen for them.

    While I'm on a roll: I wish there was a higher standard for what get called an "Art game". As Jim Sterling points out - 90% of "Art" games are basically walking around while the story is drip-fed to you. That's far too derivative to be art. Worse than that, it drops the main reason for choosing games as an artistic medium: interactivity. Art games like "The path" and "Dear Esther" could be books or videos. Neither would be considered an artistic triumph in those formats. The only game I can think of that actually turns interactivity into art effectively is Bioshock, because it makes you question how much of the game was your own volition, and how much you did just because you were told to.

    End rant.

    I hope the exhibition is good. It would be cool if it got loaned out to one of the Australian museums.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now