On the Town: the exhibition explores video games as art

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Lillie-Beth Brinkman

Oklahoma Contemporary has a fun new exhibit for those who want to explore the intersection of art and video games, those who play video games, and those interested in gaming history or pop culture itself. .

Basically it’s a great show for all of us. “Open World: Video Games & Contemporary Art” explores an artistic medium that has been part of contemporary culture for decades. It will be at the museum until February 21.

Don’t miss it. It presents nearly 70 works by 22 artists in traditional and digital media. One of my favorites, “Super Mario Bros. Plays an important role in the design of the exhibit, but you will see references to other favorites, such as “Pokémon”, “The Legend of Zelda”, “PacMan” and more.

You can play some games, but much of it comes from artists inspired by the art of video games to create their own original works. The title of the exhibition refers to open-world video games that allow a player to roam virtual worlds.

Many of these artists use video games as a catalyst to create art that addresses topical issues, a press release noted. The exhibition includes works of art created from beautiful scenes from violent games such as “Grand Theft Auto” by artist Joan Pamboukes; invented video games you can play like “Long Walk: Reboot” by Feng Mengbo; a digital fantasy world by Jacolby Satterwhite; and more. He also asked many questions, such as “Can video games save the world?” “

It’s hard to succinctly summarize the interesting parts of this exhibit, but I think “Open World” will broaden the reach of those interested in events at Oklahoma Contemporary, 11 NW 11th St. in Oklahoma City. According to a 2018 Entertainment Software Association survey, more than 166 million Americans play video games in one way or another, the art center noted in a press release. These games generated $ 134.9 billion in revenue in 2018.

I’ve written a tech lifestyle column for years on the mobile apps that have shaped our daily lives and often featured video games. I’ve always been amazed at how much attention well-designed games pay to both art and music in addition to gameplay. One game I played, Lords Mobile, hired film composer Klaus Badelt to compose the musical score for his game and had it played by the London Symphony Orchestra. The composer’s credits include a movie “Pirates of the Caribbean”.

I want to go back and explore the “Open World” exhibit for longer, but I enjoyed the opening reception. It had a great feeling with themed drinks, music inspired by video games, pixelated sculptures you could buy favorite game characters and fun on the beautiful patio.

“Open World” was originally hosted by Teresa Bembnister for the Akron Art Museum in Ohio in 2019. Oklahoma Contemporary will have interesting programming throughout the show, including GameFest OKC on November 13; family visits and activities on November 27; Teen Takeover: Pixel Holiday December 9; trivia about video games on December 16; and a “Love Is a Game” concert on February 13 with the Oklahoma Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra.

“Open World” is supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Ohio Arts Council, the Tom and Marilyn Merryweather Fund and the National Endowment for the Arts and in Oklahoma City, is presented by Velocigo. Other donors include the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation, the Delaware Resource Group, CNS Productions, Annie Bohanon, Christian Kanady, George Records, Glenna and Richard Tanenbaum, and anonymous donors.

Free entry. For more information, visit okcontemp.org or call 405-951-0000.

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