Smithsonian exhibits on video games, African American 20th century art, Annie Leibovitz photos, and Depression era paintings open in February in Florida, New Mexico, Wisconsin, and Washington.
“Treasures to Go!”, the traveling exhibition program of the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM), presents the following:
- “African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond”
Opens Feb. 1, 2013 at Orlando’s Mennello Museum of American Art
These paintings, sculptures, prints, and photographs are by 43 black artists who represented the African American experience from the Harlem Renaissance through the Civil Rights era and decades beyond. The works explore identity, the struggle for equality, and other aspects of African American life during times of tremendous social and political change.
Opening for Black History Month, the exhibit is taken entirely from the SAAM’s collection of African American art, the largest and finest in the United States. A few highlights are paintings by Jacob Lawrence, Benny Andrews, and Loïs Mailou Jones, and photographs by Gordon Parks and Marilyn Nance.
- “Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage”
Opens Feb. 15 at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, N.M.
“Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage” charts a new direction for one of America’s best-known living photographers. Unlike her staged portraits made on assignment, these photographs were taken simply because Leibovitz was moved by the subject.
For her “Pilgrimage”, Leibovitz visited the homes of Thomas Jefferson, Emily Dickinson, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Elvis Presley, and places such as Niagara Falls, Walden Pond, and the Yosemite Valley. Some of the pictures focus on photographers Leibovitz admires, like Julia Margaret Cameron and Ansel Adams.
- “1934: A New Deal for Artists“
Opens Feb. 16 at the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison, Wisc.
Created in 1934 as part of the New Deal, the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) was the first federal program to support the arts. The PWAP employed thousands of artists to paint regional subjects — from portraits to cityscapes and street scenes to landscapes and rural life. Celebrating the PWAP’s 75th anniversary, the exhibit presents 56 vibrant paintings from the SAAM’s unparalleled collection of Depression era artworks.
- “The Art of Video Games”
Opens Feb. 16 at the EMP Museum in Seattle, Wash.
“The Art of Video Games”, a stunning interactive exhibit, is one of the first historical looks at the 40-year-old phenomenon as an artistic medium.
It’s art, it’s technology, it’s fun — it’s Super Mario Brothers.
“Video games…are art,” Keith Robinson, president of Intellivision Productions, Inc., told me last year when the show was at SAAM. Four Intellivision games’re in the exhibit.
“In the early days, the only goal was to evoke joy in the player, the fun of blowing stuff up,” continued Robinson, a former Mattel Electronics programmer. “Today the game designer uses all the technical tools of gaming — visual, auditory, play mechanics — to evoke wonder, fear, awe, triumph. The best games take the player on a journey of emotions. And still with the fun of blowing stuff up.”
Each of these “Treasures to Go” evokes wonder, awe, and triumph.