Smithsonian Acquires Video Games

Flower, which co-creator Jenova Chen has likened to “video game poetry,” is now in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

The Museum of Modern Art isn’t the only cultural institution shopping for video games. In the wake of its 2012 “The Art of Video Games” exhibition, the Smithsonian American Art Museum has added to its permanent collection Flower by Jenova Chen and Kellee Santiago of thatgamecompany and Halo 2600 by Ed Fries. “The best video games are a great expression of art and culture in our democracy,” said Elizabeth Broun, the museum’s director, in a statement announcing the acquisitions. “I am excited that this new medium is now a permanent part of our collections alongside other forms of video, electronic, and code-based art.”

Added curator Michael Mansfield, “By bringing these games into a public collection, the museum has the opportunity to investigate both the material science of video game components and develop best practices for the digital preservation of the source code for the games themselves.” We suggest committing the latter part of that statement to memory and pulling it out whenever someone hassles you for “wasting your life” playing Grand Theft Auto V. Not only are you taking care of business in Los Santos but also investigating material science and developing best practices! Works every time.

Previously on UnBeige:
Pac-Man, Tetris Join MoMA Collection; Mario, Zelda Soon to Follow
American Art Museum Announces Video Game Exhibition, Asks Public to Help Curate

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