The Art of Video Games

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June 19–Sept. 28, 2014

Canaday Gallery

The Art of Video Games shows the striking visual effects, player interactivity and creative use of new technologies in games. By focusing on four game types—action, adventure, target and combat/strategy—the exhibition reveals the emergence of video games as a means of storytelling and audience engagement. Visitors will be able to connect with the content of the show across generations, from those who remember classics such as Pac-Man and Super Mario Brothers to those playing more recent games like Flower and Super Mario Galaxy 2The Art of Video Games is organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum with generous support from Entertainment Software Association Foundation, Sheila Duignan and Mike Wilkins, Shelby and Frederick Gans, Mark Lamia, Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk, Rose Family Foundation, Betty and Lloyd Schermer, and Neil Young. The C.F. Foundation in Atlanta supports the museum’s traveling exhibition program, Treasures to Go. The showing in Toledo is made possible through the generous support of Toledo Museum of Art members. Free admission.

To view 360 degree panoramas of the exhibition, click on the images below.

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Related Exhibitions

Fun & Games: The Pursuit of Leisure

June 27–Sept. 21 | Works on Paper Gallery

For centuries, humankind has enjoyed a wealth of leisure diversions. Drawing on works from local and Toledo Museum of Art collections, Fun & Games shows a variety of those activities—games, sports, racing, theater, dancing and gossip—depicted by artists over the years. The exhibition includes paintings, ceramics and works of art on paper by such artists as Honore Daumier, James A. M. Whistler, George Wesley Bellows, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Lucas Cranach, Winslow Homer, Albrecht Dürer, Marc Chagall and Rembrandt van Rijn. Free admission.

MoonAndMelancholyZeros and Ones: Computer Generated Art

May 16–Sept. 18 | Community Gallery

Inspired by the concept of art and technology in the summer 2014 exhibition The Art of Video Games, local artists were invited to showcase two- and three- dimensional works generated by computers. The Community Gallery is sponsored by Hickory Farms. Free admission.


Special Events and Presentations


Photo by Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

FREE Presenation: Achievement Unlocked: How Video Games Captured the World’s Imagination

June 20: 7 p.m. | Little Theater

In the 40+ years since video games first winked into existence, they have become a global phenomena and emerged as an important artistic and storytelling medium in popular culture. Chris Melissinos, creator and guest curator of The Art of Video Games, traces the games’ journey from humble beginnings to global sensation, explores why we love them, and reveals how this groundbreaking exhibition came to be. Afterward, he will be on hand to sign copies of the exhibition catalogue The Art of Video Games: From Pac-Man to Mass Effect, co-authored by Melissinos and Patrick O’Rourke.

gameon200x200#GameOn: The Art of Video Games Opening Party

June 21: 8 p.m.–midnight | Main Museum

Celebrate the arrival of the Toledo Museum of Art’s summer exhibition The Art of Video Games with hands-on activities, a cash bar, food trucks, dancing, a game-inspired photo booth and a rock-paper-scissors tournament. Dress code ranges from graphic tees to video game character costumes and everything in between. Admission is free for Museum members, $20 for adult nonmembers and $10 for nonmember ages 6–12.

Party Itinerary

Enjoy music, a scavenger hunt, classic arcade games and a green screen photo booth in addition to the following party activities:

Interactive Human Video Game
8–10 p.m. | Terrace
Do you have the courage to battle the robots?

Hands-On Art Activity
8–11 p.m. | Herrick Lobby
Unleash your inner pixelator with our collage activity.

Rock-Paper-Scissors Tournament with Comedian Keith Bergman
8:30, 9:30, 10:30 & 11:30 p.m. | Libbey Court
Think you’re good at R-P-S? We’ll put you to the test.

Cosplay Contest
8:30–9:45 p.m. | Gallery One
Show us your video game character costume for a chance to win cool prizes.

Inside the Industry: A Conversation with Xbox Senior Producer Holly Hirzel
9 p.m. | Little Theater
Meet Toledo native Holly Hirzel, who will share her 17 years of experience working in the video game industry.

The party is sponsored in part by Hanson Logo - 2color

PanzerDragoonZwei_3FREE Panel Discussion: Gaming for a Living: The Life of a Pro-Gamer

July 18: 7 p.m. | Little Theater

Video games are a $26 billion business. The average male gamer is 32 years old and the average female gamer is 42, hardly the stereotype of a teenager in his or her parents’ basement. Many gamers make a living playing video games and producing video game events. This panel discussion brings together pro gamers and video game personalities to discuss the business and lifestyle of the video game industry.

LegendOfZelda_OcarinaFREE Panel Discussion: Level Complete: The Future of Video Games

August 15: 7 p.m. | Little Theater

With more than 20 years each producing video games, panelists Nathaniel McClure, Navid Khonsari, and Blaine Graboyes are pioneering new gaming frontiers. These three veterans and innovators in the video game industry talk about the next generation of gaming and share their insight into the industry’s future in this panel discussion.

FREE Game Day at TMA

September 7: noon-5 p.m. | Throughout Museum

Before video games, people played board games. Organized by UT-BASH, the University of Toledo’s gaming organization, Game Day allows visitors to test their skills with new and classic board games at tables placed strategically throughout the Museum.

Brett Leonard photoPGAFREE Masters Series: Brett Leonard

September 25: 6 p.m. | Peristyle

Born in Toledo, Brett Leonard is a visionary American film and video director, writer, and producer. The Lawnmower Man, Leonard’s cautionary tale on virtual reality, was the most successful independent film of 1992 and was acclaimed for its cutting edge computer animation and visual effects. Virtuosity (1992), starring Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington, explored nanotechnology in a cyberpunk future. Mr. Leonard joins TMA Director Brian Kennedy in a conversation about the creative possibilities of digital technology.

The TMA Masters Series is sponsored in part by the TMA Ambassadors, a group of active Museum supporters and fundraisers.


July 24: 7 p.m. | Little Theater

A young computer whiz (Matthew Broderick) taps into a top secret supercomputer which has control over the U.S. nuclear arsenal in this Academy Award-nominated thriller. When it challenges him to a game between American and Russia, he innocently starts the countdown to World War 3. Can he avert war and convince the computer he was only playing? (1983, 114 min.)

the-last-starfighter-02The Last Starfighter

August 21: 7 p.m. | Little Theater

A teenage gamer, seemingly doomed to live out his days in a trailer park, finds himself recruited as a gunner for an alien defense force and asked to take the skills he showed in video games into real combat to protect the galaxy from invasion. (1984, 101 min.)

Indie Game: The Movie

September 11: 7 p.m. | Little Theater

This 2012 documentary follows four independent game developers who have taken the industry by storm. (2012, 104 min.)


Photo by floto + warner

Photo by floto + warner

Wine by the Glass Pavilion

July 18 | Mario’s Favorites: Italian Wines

July 25 | Princess Peach’s Picks: Fruity & Full-Bodied

August 8 | Pinky & Blinky: Blush & Red Wines

August 15 | Zelda’s Zinfandels: California Classics

August 22 | Gamers’ Grapes: Casual to Hardcore

Enjoy four wines and light snacks during It’s Friday! from 6:30–8:30 p.m. at the Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion. Tickets are $20 for members, $30 for nonmembers, plus tax, and are available for purchase during Museum hours by phone at 419-255-8000 ext. 7448 or at the information desks. The event is made even better paired with an Art Hours Flameworking session where participants craft wine glass charms under the guidance of a technician.

FREE Family Center Activities
For children 10 years of age and younger accompanied by an adult, art activities in the Family Center are sponsored in part by The Andersons.

Visiting Artist in the Family Center: Chris Melissinos

June 20: 5–6 p.m.

Chris Melissinos, curator of the exhibition The Art of Video Games, shares his infectious enthusiasm for digital and pixilated art.

Your Favorite Video Game Character!

June 22: Noon–5 p.m.
June 24 and 26: 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
June 27: 3:30–8 p.m.

Celebrate the opening of the exhibition The Art of Video Games by designing your favorite video game character using a wide variety of supplies.

Fun and Games!

July 6: Noon–5 p.m.
July 8 and 10: 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
July 11: 3:30–8 p.m.

Design your own board game or card game inspired by what you see in the Fun & Games: The Pursuit of Leisure exhibition in the Works on Paper Gallery.

Greek Games!

August 3: Noon–5 p.m.
August 5 and 7: 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
August 8: 3:30–8 p.m.

Inspired by the ancient Greek Olympic games portrayed in the exhibition Fun & Games: The Pursuit of Leisure, use scratch art to decorate your own Greek vase shape!

Pixelated Pictures!

August 10: Noon–5 p.m.
August 12 and 14: 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
August 15: 3:30–8 p.m.

Get inspired by viewing the exhibition The Art of Video Games and create your own pixilated picture using a wide variety of supplies.

3D Pixel Block Art!

August 24: Noon–5 p.m.
August 26 and 28: 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
August 29: 3:30–8 p.m.

Transform old-school pixilated images into a 3D work of art using blocks.

Visiting Artist in the Family Center: Dan Hernandez

August 29: 6–7 p.m. | Family Center

Artist and University of Toledo assistant professor Dan Hernandez forms connections that are insightful and playful by paralleling video games with annunciation paintings by Early Renaissance artists. Hernandez will visit the Family Center to talk about his work and guide children in a hands-on activity.