My efforts to bring video games and art history together in this space would be significantly lacking if I did not make mention of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s “The Art of Video Games” exhibition, which opened on Friday. Rather than summarize the whole show myself, I’ll just refer readers to this review in the New York Times. Yes, this review is by Seth Schiesel, and the ever sagacious Tom Bissell did once remark “I have learned not to trust a single thing Seth Schiesel has to say about video games,” and I agreed with him… but given that Schiesel’s main effort in the review is to say that having an exhibition in a Smithsonian museum is a big step in the recognition of video games as a cultural force, it seems appropriate to point out that the exhibition is also being reviewed in the august pages of the NYT, and by someone who is now a full time video game reviewer for the paper no less. Another notable aspect of the exhibition is its catalogue, which I received as a gift last week. It’s a very nicely designed book and is worth checking out.
My only complaint about the show is its subtitle: “From Pac Man to Mass Effect.” That’s a great subtitle, but the problem is that the show features Mass Effect 2 rather than the original Mass Effect. I know this was determined by voters (weird in itself)… but come on, the second game does not deserve to be in a museum before the first!
It’s also curious that the show will be traveling around the country until January of 2016. I have to imagine that it will seem in need of some updating by then.
And while I’m writing, I might as well post this article about the potential downfall of video game consoles from IGN. They make some fine points, and this very possibility definitely is a bummer for me. The comments on the article are also amusing for showing how little credibility IGN has, even with its own readers.