The Art of Exhibition

The Art of Exhibition

Art is more than just painted pictures.

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An excellent article. There's lots to be said about the power and significance of a generation's zeitgeist - why shouldn't it be encapsulated, preserved and enjoyed? And that's the reason I found this following statment a little unfair:

Jensen Toperzer:
... It's the same for television, movies, toys and comic books. These things shape our childhoods, even more than the struggles of nations or the musings of poets.

When we picture say, the Vietnam War, in our minds, we recall iconic images of burnt, naked kids, helicopters and summary executions. We have television and magazines to thank for those memories but without the events themselves, these 'signs of the times', these "struggles of nations" to depict, refer to or allude to, we'd have nothing.

To compare the coverage (television, movies, comics etc.) to the events and influences themselves seems like a non-starter to me. The media might change (You hear about Peal Habour on the radio, You see 9/11 on the television) but it is the events (Where were you when JFK was shot?) that are the common denominator.

If you were pitching something else in this bit, I could only think that perhaps you were emphasising the differences between direct/indirect influences in childhood, but that wasn't clear to me.

IndianaJonny:
An excellent article. There's lots to be said about the power and significance of a generation's zeitgeist - why shouldn't it be encapsulated, preserved and enjoyed? And that's the reason I found this following statment a little unfair:

Jensen Toperzer:
... It's the same for television, movies, toys and comic books. These things shape our childhoods, even more than the struggles of nations or the musings of poets.

When we picture say, the Vietnam War, in our minds, we recall iconic images of burnt, naked kids, helicopters and summary executions. We have television and magazines to thank for those memories but without the events themselves, these 'signs of the times', these "struggles of nations" to depict, refer to or allude to, we'd have nothing.

To compare the coverage (television, movies, comics etc.) to the events and influences themselves seems like a non-starter to me. The media might change (You hear about Peal Habour on the radio, You see 9/11 on the television) but it is the events (Where were you when JFK was shot?) that are the common denominator.

If you were pitching something else in this bit, I could only think that perhaps you were emphasising the differences between direct/indirect influences in childhood, but that wasn't clear to me.

But while the images stick with us, what really forms and shapes our minds is the events themselves: We all develop opinions on current events, and some of them have a bigger impact than others. Then again, current events continue to shape art: How many shooters do we have set in the middle east or featuring shocking attacks on our cities? (Though that event's not current, we all grew up with it.)

Scow2:
But while the images stick with us, what really forms and shapes our minds is the events themselves: We all develop opinions on current events, and some of them have a bigger impact than others. Then again, current events continue to shape art: How many shooters do we have set in the middle east or featuring shocking attacks on our cities? (Though that event's not current, we all grew up with it.)

That's a good summary of the point I was making. Hence why I found Jensen's comment about the expression ("television, movies, toys...") being more significant than the event ("struggles of nations") difficult to agree with - that is, if I'm reading his intent correctly here.

Jensen Toperzer:

Archie Bunker

I love that show! Man, it was funny. One of the better sitcoms, if you ask me.

I feel like it's difficult to overstate the value of an artform that's based on interaction instead of--as Toperzer puts it--sitting on a wall for staring. I'm glad that the Art of Videogames exhibit incorporated demos for games, and I hope it inspires young artists to continue experimenting with the medium.

Things that make the article for me:

--Historical Context. It's good to remind gamers, teens, and young adults that arguments over whether pop culture is 'art' are nothing new. I like reading about how something exciting and revolutionary in one decade can be compared to what had similar cultural weight in another.

--Art As 'Sacred.' The art I engage with (written, visual, and aural) on a daily basis is overwhelmingly: A. Produced by amateurs, hobbyists, and friends. or B. Produced for consumption and as wide a distribution as the creator-artist can get away with. When I think about what impacts my daily life, it isn't the art that gets made so it can be good enough and special enough to put in an art museum.

(And we don't precisely put our greatest works of literature or music in museums; these arts should not be any less 'high' for their greater ease of distribution, should they? A first edition printing is, ultimately, the novel's container or medium, not the art itself. But I may be off-topic.)

--Engagement. I had a similar experience when I went to the Art of Videogame exhibit, and the rest of the American Art museum, with a friend. While we wandered around some of the other bits and bobs of the building and its wings, the conversation and debate didn't really come alive until we hit TAOVG. Arguing about genre assignment, and worthiness of choice, is 'fun.' I'm god-awful tired of 'Are Games Art,' but I'll gleefully discuss related topics, and the merits of the games displayed. ('Is Minecraft a Tactics Game,' most noteably.)

By putting Video Games in the goddamn Smithsonian Art museum. (And, interestingly enough, video games made by European and Asian developers in the 'American' art museum), we get to side-step the debate and have more interesting discussions.

I like my art to be 'useful,' or able to enhance my everyday living experience. And I also like my art to be a vehicle for social engagement with people around me.

Not all (personally, subjectively enjoyable) art must do both simultaneously; but video games are an artform that can accomplish the feat.

I think the existence of museums is what creates the idea that art is sacred. It's a silly idea though. The value of art is found by seeing a particular moment within a transient view. An image that is striking the first time often becomes infuriating over time. How many clever commercials become annoying the second or third time you see them? There is, however, a unique moment when you first view something, that can make it special. The first time I had my character step out of the sewers in Oblivion, I was amazed at what I saw - not so much the second time. It is in the discovery and not the maintaining of that moment that there is art. When art is made sacred, to sit forever the same on some wall, it loses it's value. It becomes inert and thus uninteresting - truly a terrible fate for some given the name "art".

I keep saying: There is, and always will be, a subset of society who regards the value of an opinion or argument based strictly upon the age of its medium. This includes those put forward by works of art.

I find it so funny when people question the presence of video games in the Smithsonian without batting an eye at all the old relics elsewhere in their museums.

I mean, if we're going to argue about art, why should the ancient knife or water vessel that was created for utilitarian purposes be considered more a work of art than something that was created solely to appeal to human impulses and interests?

And considering how absolutely massive the games industry is these days, Super Mario Brothers has at least as great an impact on our history as the fact that people, thousands of years ago, really liked having jade discs.

I love video games, and I love art, but the lack of critical thought on the part of both lay people and those invested in the fine art world in favor of their own personal flavor of bias makes me sad.

IndianaJonny:

Scow2:
But while the images stick with us, what really forms and shapes our minds is the events themselves: We all develop opinions on current events, and some of them have a bigger impact than others. Then again, current events continue to shape art: How many shooters do we have set in the middle east or featuring shocking attacks on our cities? (Though that event's not current, we all grew up with it.)

That's a good summary of the point I was making. Hence why I found Jensen's comment about the expression ("television, movies, toys...") being more significant than the event ("struggles of nations") difficult to agree with - that is, if I'm reading his intent correctly here.

In this case, I think he's saying it's reversed... and in a way, I agree with him. The games I've played over the years have had a bigger impact on my outlook than the world around me or prestigious/pretentious poets/philosophers. It's not the tacked-on meanings of the games that usually get to me, but the more interactive parts, where I have to make a decision, or get something done right.

As someone who was lucky enough to get to attend the exhibit I can say it's very enjoyable and entertaining -- when my parents visited my in DC and I went to see it again, with them this time - they said they enjoyed it far more than they thought that would.

And wow, does my mom suck at Flower.

 

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