Most of the world wants a way to escape reality right now, and what better way than by playing video games? A surprising favourite right now is Nintendo’s Animal Crossing, with artists and creatives alike using the game to bring art to the world of gaming.
We first turned our attention to Animal Crossing when we came across the creations of artist Shing Yin Khor, who recreated works by Marina Abramovic and Christo, making performance art cute but also digital, and somewhat untouchable. But she isn’t the only one giving the art world a cartoonish makeover. LA’s Getty Museum has created an Animal Crossing Art Generator tool (I mean, who would have believed this six months ago…), where you can transform museum collections into patterns for the game. Users are creating their own art galleries with works by the likes of Van Gogh, Manet and Cezanne all appearing online. There is even a hashtag you can follow too: #acartgenerator.
One New York artist – Nichole Shinn – took it one step further, curating her own Animal Crossing exhibition, with over 20 artists taking part. The show took place online (of course), with each artwork downloadable for free. How generous is that?! Later down the line, prints of the artwork will be published by TXTbooks in Brooklyn, along with a catalogue, bringing the digital into the physical realm.
But get this, the Animal Crossing game itself also has an arty dimension. The latest edition of the game – New Horizons – requires gamers to sniff out art world forgeries. A fox called Redd presents players with very real-looking (but mostly fake) works of art by everyone from Michelangelo to Leonardo da Vinci. It’s the user’s job to decipher real from fake, with the genuine artworks going to an owl (what else?!), who will curate them into a museum. Examples of fakes include a figure in Las Meninas with an arm that is lifted slightly too high, and a Mona Lisa with raised eyebrows. This is basically a video game that is fun and good for your art history knowledge, so how can you feel bad playing it?!
Brb guys, we’re busy digging out our Nintendos.
Text Lizzy Vartanian