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ON_game at UT-Dallas


by Betsy Lewis 30 Oct 2008 12:59 PM

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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