Last Thursday on a whim and at the kindness of a friend, I visited the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. Why did he really send me there? I suspect it has something to do with the fact that he thinks that I am an uncultured peon. Bless his heart...
Another friend had visited the MoMA earlier in the week and when I asked him his opinion, he responded that it was very "Modern". Fair enough. Then he told me that there was a Video Game exhibition on.
Now, had I been brushing up on my articles on Kotaku posted back in November I believe it was, I would have damned well known this information already, wouldn't I?
But that's not the point. The point is that I went and I took it all in. And before you all settle the notion in your head that I am indeed a peon (I feel your judgment! Stop that! Even if it might be somewhat true...), I've actually visited the MoMA a few times before. I had many an adventure stopping by Monet's Reflections of Clouds on the Water-Lily Pond; visiting Tim Burton's Special Exhibition in 2010; and I always, always love visiting my favourite piece right here. I mean, come now - doesn't that just state it all? And this time around, I enjoyed the Claes Oldenburg Mouse Museum Exhibit amongst other things.
If there's one thing that can be said about the MoMA and the various collections it houses, it's this: Modern Art has always produced the most polarizing discussion I've heard from friends and co-workers. I've heard the constant, "...I just don't get it." Along with the "...I can do this too, let me just go dig up some junk from my basement...". Or the "...that piece was stunning. The way the piece of hair was twisted was just so...brilliant!"
But it was when I went into the Architecture and Designs Gallery for the Applied Design Exhibition at the MoMA on Thursday, that my blood boiled just ever so slightly. Two teenage girls looked at the display for The Sims and Sim City, scoffed and disdainfully said, "...What is this doing here?"
No. The real question was why were those two girls there?
I was there to enjoy the grand, spacious halls of the MoMA. For anyone that's been, you know exactly what I'm talking about. It's such a beautiful space with its magnificently high ceilings, white walls and fantastically laid out exhibits. I always felt that whatever installment was in there, the pieces were there to blend in (the more experimental, newer and special collections at the very least) and to become a part of the Museum, it seems. At any given moment, you could walk around a corner into a dark room and start watching a film or a laser light show that could trick the mind and dazzle the senses.
And I was there to enjoy just that with the newly installed Video Game collection. The exhibit itself was seamlessly built into some black walls of the MoMA, drawing attention to the moving media on the installed screens of the games represented. Part Arcade and all Modern Marvels... It was an informative, interactive experience and one I wish I had more time to spend on. The sign on the wall described exactly the purpose of the Exhibit and hey, they're right. That's exactly what Tetris is all about!
Read it! It does a better job of describing the purpose of the Exhibit more so than I ever could.
The games featured as part of the Exhibit were just a small portion of an interactive history we've enjoyed, are enjoying and the sort of things we all should enjoy!
Truth be told, I'm not sure who the Exhibition is really supposed to appeal to. On the one hand, there's the trigger of nostalgia for anyone looking in. Certainly, there are people who have not touched a single video game in their life but Pac-Man? That's pretty recognizable, right? That's actually a lot to assume. On the other, I'm sure any one interested in design, architecture and actually bothering to read the manifesto behind the Exhibition could appreciate the Exhibit's worth. And on my freakish third hand (wha...?), was this Exhibit installed for someone like you, the reader who's visiting a video game site and me, the person writing to a video game site who would fully appreciate any of this (and then we could all scream and yell bloody murder about why certain games were included and others not)?
My nemesis, Katamari Damacy, was there too. Oh man, do I have a future story about this one...
So back to the girls I overheard. Maybe they had played and disliked Sim City with an ungodly burning passion. Or maybe it is human nature to judge what they do not understand. It certainly is human nature to have an opinion on any and every thing. Such is life! Whatever the case, they were there. I was there. A lot of people were there.
We were all just taking in an afternoon at the Museum - debating, scoffing and enjoying that no coins need be inserted to be chased around by Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde.
It's actually $25 to get into the Museum for Adult Admission (if you're lucky, $5 as a guest to someone's membership).
But think of it as not a $25 price of admission to play Pac-Man, but rather, $25 to scratch your head and/or enjoy absolutely everything the MoMA has to offer.
And I both enjoyed and scratched my head at this piece...
You know where else is a fun place to visit? TAY Classic. There you can view the pretty paintings that are the words that others write, or write some pretty words yourself and start up discussions! Just be sure that your posts are tagged with "tay classic" when you submit your Masterpieces!