Open World: Video Games & Contemporary Art

Friday, August 7, 2020Sunday, January 10, 2021
Organized by Rory Padeken, curator

Tabor Robak
20XX, 2013
HD video, real-time 3Dduration 6 minutes, 43 seconds, 80-inch monitor
Courtesy of the artist and team (gallery inc.)

Open World: Video Games & Contemporary Art explores open world video games, which allow players to roam virtual worlds and create online personas, the exhibition features artworks by artists who reference a broad cross-section of games, ranging from early text adventure and arcade games to modern massively multi-player online role-playing games and first-person shooters.  The exhibition presents paintings, sculptures, textiles, works on paper, animations, video games, video game modifications, and game-based performances and interventions by makers who self-identify as artists. The title also draws attention to the rich opportunities video games offer for creative expression. Through games, artists build alternate worlds. They use digital games to create meaning through imagery, music, sound effects, animation, and narrative. Participating artists include Alan Butler, Ueli Alder, Cory Arcangel, JooYoung Choi, Joseph Del-appe, Krista Hoefle, Invader, Butt Johnson, Angelo Ray Martínez, Michael Menchaca, Feng Mengbo, Joan Pamboukes, Oliver Payne, Tim Portlock, Tabor Robak, Rachel Rossin, Jacolby Satterwhite, Skawanneti, Suzanne Treister, Nathan Vincent, Bill Viola, Angela Washko, and Mathew Zefeldt. Open World: Video Games & Contemporary Art is organized by the Akron Art Museum and supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Ohio Arts Council, The Tom and Marilyn Merryweather Fund, and National Endowment for the Arts. 


Published by the Akron Art Museum, and distributed by ARTBOOK I D.A.P., a full-color, 100-page catalog accompanies the exhibition. Produced by Lucia I Marquand, the publication features essays by Theresa Bembnister, Akron Art Museum associate curator; Samantha Blackmon, associate professor in the Department of English at Purdue University, Indiana; and Andrew Williams, associate professor of art and design history and program director of the BF-A in Games Design & Development at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.