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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Art museums can be complex, confounding, boring, exciting, absurd, and breathtaking. They can be sad, enlightening, hurtful, alive, dead, mainstream and avant-garde. They can, at once, be all of these things. Or they can be any one of these things separately. Museums can be more. Art museums might provide a place for contemplation, a place for social commentary, a place for political discourse, a place for lunch. They can identify us, deconstruct us, or illuminate our experiences for everyone. They can be an index for the health and vibrancy of our culture and our time. The Smithsonian American Art Museum provides such an index. American Art’s collections and exhibitions compile the permanent record of our aspirations, character and imagination. The museum has been a leader in identifying and collecting significant and sometimes unconventional aspects of American visual expression. One of the more vibrant artistic expressions of late, (not only nationally, but globally), has been in and around video gaming. Video games are an undeniably important contributor to our cultural discourse. They cannot be marginalized because they might be commercial, popular, or competitive. The creative and artistic expressions captured in video games are vital to our cultural heritage. Video games are art.

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