Pippin Barr. <i>The Artist is Present</i> game screen shot. Photograph courtesy of the artist

Contemporary Art Forum: Critical Play—The Game as an Art Form

Thursday, May 17, 2012, 6:00 p.m.

Theater 3 (The Celeste Bartos Theater), mezzanine, The Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building

The Contemporary Art Forum presents timely and innovative programs (lectures, conversations, and performances) that address pressing issues in contemporary art, and grow out of discussions with MoMA curators. Participants include artists and designers, critics, curators, and scholars, among others.

From Marcel Duchamp’s chess games to Lygia Clark’s puzzles, artists throughout the 20th century have adopted the structures and strategies of games. In recent years, they have begun to explore virtual, online, and video games in their work—as well as game theory, an increasingly critical framework for audience engagement and participation—to create social interactions. This two-day forum brings together artists, educators, curators, and game theorists to discuss the influence of game theory on art practice and the ways in which art making has reformulated audience engagement and learning.

Program Schedule

Thursday, May 17, 6:00–8:00 p.m.

6:00 p.m.: Welcome
Pablo Helguera
, Director of Adult and Academic Programs, The Museum of Modern Art

6:10–6:30 p.m.: Critical Play
Mary Flanagan
, Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor in Digital Humanities and Director, Tiltfactor Laboratory, Dartmouth College

6:30–8:00 p.m.: Artist Play, A Short History
Susan Laxton
, Assistant Professor, Department of Art History, University of California, Riverside; Hannah Higgins, Professor, University Scholar, University of Illinois at Chicago; and Frank Lantz, Director, New York University Game Center. Moderated by Christian Rattemeyer, Associate Curator, Department of Drawings, The Museum of Modern Art.

Friday, May 18, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

10:00 a.m. Welcome
Pablo Helguera
, Director of Adult and Academic Programs, The Museum of Modern Art

10:10–10:40 a.m.: Games and 21st–Century Literacy
James Paul Gee
, Mary Lou Fulton Presidential Professor of Literacy Studies, Division of Curriculum and Instruction, Mary Lou Fulton College of Education, Arizona State University

10:45–11:45 a.m.: War and Games
Scholar Christopher Robbins, Associate Professor of Social Foundations at Eastern Michigan University; with artist Coco Fusco; and Ana Janevski, Associate Curator, Department of Media and Performance Art, The Museum of Modern Art

11:45 a.m.–1:00 p.m.: From Hello World! to Hello Nails! Videogames and Design
Artists Scott Snibbe (Biophilia), Pippin Barr (The Artist is Present), and Kate Carmody (Big Urban Game), Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art, in conversation with Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art

1:00–3:00 p.m.: Lunch and Game Time
Games will be available for open play in the Education Building mezzanine and classrooms, located adjacent to Theater 3

3:00–4:00 p.m.: Games and Social Practice
Artists Pekko Koskinen and Pedro Reyes with Pablo Helguera, Director of Adult and Academic Programs, The Museum of Modern Art

4:00–5:00 p.m.: Respondent’s Panel
Sebastian Chan
, Director of Digital Media and Technology, Smithsonian, Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum; Kevin Slavin, independent consultant; Daphne Dragona, independent new media curator; Erica Gangsei, Manager of Interpretative Media, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Moderated by Stephanie Pau, Associate Educator, Interpretation and Research, The Museum of Modern Art.

Follow us on Twitter @momatalks and join in the conversation—use hashtag #momacriticalplay to find out more about this program and share your thoughts! A live stream of this program will be available at livestream.com/momatalks.

This symposium takes place over two days, May 17 and 18, and separate admission applies to each day. Tickets ($10, $8 members and corporate members, $5 students, seniors and staff of other museums) are available online, at the information desk in the main lobby, and at the film desk after 4:00 p.m. Any remaining tickets may be picked up one hour before the start of the program at the Education and Research Building ticketing desk.