Winter at Akron Art Museum
OPEN WORLD: VIDEO GAMES & CONTEMPORARY ART
Karl and Bertl Arnstein Galleries, and Judith Bear Isroff Gallery
October 19–February 2
More than 166 million Americans play video games. Visual artists are gamers too, yet video games are rarely examined as a major influence on contemporary art. Open World draws attention to this phenomenon through the presentation of artworks including painting, sculpture, textiles, prints, drawings, animation, video games, video game modifications and game-based performances and interventions by makers who self-identify as artists. The exhibition’s title refers to open-world video games, which allow a player to roam through a virtual world, freely selecting their objectives. The title also draws attention to the rich opportunities video games offer for creative expression.
The artworks in Open World reference a broad cross-section of games, ranging from early text adventure and arcade games to modern massively multi-player online roleplaying games and first-person shooters. Participating artists are influenced by some of the most beloved video game franchises including Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, The Sims and Final Fantasy, although the exhibition will not include commercially produced games.
Open World: Video Games & Contemporary Art is organized by the Akron Art Museum and supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Ohio Arts Council, The Tom and Marilyn Merryweather Fund, the Akron Community Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by GOJO Industries. Media Sponsorship is provided by Western Reserve PBS.
ELIAS SIME: TIGHTROPE
Karl and Bertl Arnstein Galleries
February 29–May 24
Elias Sime: Tightrope, the first major traveling survey dedicated to the Ethiopian artist’s work, features numerous large-scale tableaus. Sime draws from a range of influences including linguistics, botany, artistic movements and topographic photography. This noteworthy exhibition includes two works created specifically for the show alongside a large selection from the Tightrope series, in addition to several earlier stitched canvases.
From afar, these works give the appearance of abstract paintings. However, upon closer inspection, one sees these color-block compositions are assembled from unexpected materials like motherboards, buttons and electrical wire. First conceiving of a composition, Sime then sources the items to realize his concept, often purchasing them new or utilizing materials he has collected. In some cases, it takes him years to finish a work because he must locate a sufficient quantity of a specific material.
Sime weaves his materials into breathtaking artworks that express a sense of personal connection. “There is a sense of unity and cooperation that I reflect through my art,” he says. “At the root of all of it is love and passion.”
Elias Sime: Tightrope is organized by the Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College, Clinton, New York. Its presentation in Akron is made possible through the generous support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; Ohio Arts Council; The Tom and Marilyn Merryweather Fund; the Kenneth L. Calhoun Charitable Trust, KeyBank, Trustee; and Katie and Mark Smucker.
THE DISTANCE OF THE MOON
Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Galleries
Through March 15
In 1969, the astronauts aboard Apollo 11 made history by becoming the first people to set foot on the moon. Unbeknownst to them, that year also marked the arrival of the first works of art to the lunar surface—the Moon Museum. Covertly orchestrated by members of the group Experiments in Art and Technology, a miniscule ceramic tile bearing reproductions of artworks by six artists was snuck onto the Apollo 12 lander. A rare original tile, featuring work by Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, Forrest Myers, David Novros and John Chamberlain, will be on view in The Distance of the Moon.
From Georges Méliès’ early film Le voyage dans la lune (1902), to Robert Longo’s striking study Untitled (Moon in Shadow) (2006), the moon has served as an important touchstone and inspired countless works of art and imagined lunar voyages. Fact blends with fiction in this exhibition as astronauts mingle with winged moon men and unicorns. Combining historic prints with modern images of the lunar surface taken by NASA and contemporary works that challenge our relationship to the moon, this exhibition considers the relationship between artistic impulse and scientific discovery.
The Distance of the Moon IMAGE CAPTIONS
OPEN WORLD: VIDEO GAMES AND CONTEMPORARY ART | THROUGH FEBRUARY 2
Karl and Bertl Arnstein Galleries and Judith Bear Isroff Gallery
THE DISTANCE OF THE MOON | THROUGH MARCH 15
ELIAS SIME: TIGHTROPE | FEBRUARY 29–MAY 24
AKRON ART MUSEUM
One South High Street
Akron, Ohio 44308