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ON_game at UT-Dallas


by Betsy Lewis 30 Oct 2008

Detail from Matthew Bourbon’s His Nature Do video games possess any artistic merit? Kyle Kondas and John Pomara have assembled an exhibition on the UT-Dallas campus that attempts to prove (or at least explore) that possibility. ON_game is really two shows in one. At last Friday night’s opening reception for ON_game and Tony Vincenti’s between, […]

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Detail from Matthew Bourbon’s His Nature

Do video games possess any artistic merit?
Kyle Kondas and John Pomara have assembled an exhibition on the UT-Dallas campus that attempts to prove (or at least explore) that possibility.

ON_game is really two shows in one. At last Friday night’s opening reception for ON_game and Tony Vincenti’s between, Kondas told me that the gaming premise flows in two directions: works based directly on gaming elements, and works indirectly inspired from games played long ago (and I’m talking the 80s).

The pieces clearly belonging to the gaming universe made me a little more open-minded toward the aesthetic value of that multi-billion dollar industry. Behold the Matthew Bourbon detail above – that’s art, baby.

Some of the best pieces seemed to have no relationship to the show’s premise, like Kim Owens’ Lounge. Kim hasn’t been in front of a gaming console since her cousins’ Atari in the 80s, and I got the feeling she was slightly perplexed at having been asked to participate. Maybe it takes a gamer (and I am not) to see the connection. But if the art is good, I don’t really care if it fits the premise.

</Kim Owens’ Lounge

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The show is equally divided between video and two-dimensional pieces. Now I love video more than you ever will, believe me, but I cannot move away from the Kim Owens piece when this is what awaits on the next wall:

It has nothing to do with the video itself – I never even watched what was on those monitors – it’s the ugliness of thick cords and giant earphones hanging down the wall that turned me off. I attended an all-video show last summer that did not present this problem, because the technology’s ugliness applied to every piece in the room (but even then, earphones were kind of gross in a group situation).

One video (technically, lights and tv) knocked me out, Barna Kantor’s Space Invader 3D. Lodged in an alcove in the corner, some gallery-goers never even noticed it.


Look closely and you’ll see the positioning of the work between wall and onlooker. Nowthat’s how to put a monitor in an art show.

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