City Planner: Wednesday 12/13


3Qs with "Level_13" curator Jamie Schumacher

class=img_thumbleft>Exhibition curator Jamie Schumacher offers City Pages a few pithy pixels about how the painting, sculpture, sound, and digital art in Altered Esthetics' "Level_13" reflects, refracts, and builds on a body of video game culture that's growing faster than the national debt.

City Pages: There's an abundance of compelling art based on—or in—modern video games. So why does "Level_13" focus on the classics?

Jamie Schumacher: My generation grew up with a type of art that was different than the forms that preceded it. Unlike cartoons and paintings, video games were art you could play with. "Level_13" recognizes the tremendous role video games of the '80s had on an entire generation of artists, designers, writers, and gamers.

CP: Two pieces in the show are actually playable, but neither is for sale. Does that reflect video games' non-commodity-based essence, in the sense that their merit is grounded mostly in experience?

JS: I believe that has more to do with the artists' connections to the creations rather than a perceived notion about commodity value.

CP: Do you think video games can be great art?

JS: Video games have tremendous power to generate art that is not only beautiful, aesthetically balanced, and expressive, but also appealing to an impressive--and at times addictive--degree. Video games, especially role-playing games, are like incredibly enhanced installation art. With a little less latex and wood.

--Rod Smith

"Level_13," a 30-artist exhibition inspired by classic video games, runs through December 21 at Altered Esthetics. Free. 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, and Tuesday; also 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Thursday.