The Artist Is Present: The Video Game!

“Hurry Up and Wait”

Last year, I attended an exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art by performance artist Marina Abramovic. The Artist Is Present, as it was called, was a retrospective of her very controversial and outrageously pretentious body of work. Not only did the exhibit feature more nudity than you can even imagine (live nude models, films of people in various states of undress), which was far less interesting and titillating than you would believe, but the entire run of the exhibit featured an ongoing “staring contest” where guests of the museum could wait on line to sit in a chair across from Abramovic and stare into her dead, stoic eyes. The show created a media frenzy as the surrounding hype incited people – including many high profile celebrities – to line up for hours and hours for the chance to have a silent, one on one audience with Abramovic. Art!

Now, I am not a video game player although I love the lol video game, and waiting in line at a museum seems like a pretty uninteresting point around which to create a video game, but Pippin Barr, a computer game research professor, blogger at the Armchair Empire and author of the upcoming book How To Play A Video Game has made a “subversively boring” game inspired by (and named for) The Artist is Present which simulates that very experience! According to an interview with Barr up now on at This Link, the author reveals that he “wanted to make a video game about art, [and] few works of contemporary art have that kind of famousness and stature that this [exhibit did]. At first I just thought a game about this would be hilarious, but then I realized there could be some seriousness to it as well. No one has ever really made a video game about the experience of contemporary art.”

Source:, according to Slate, Barr insists that the game is not some kind of practical joke about the act of infinite waiting. “You can actually make it to the front,” he offers. ‘I did it yesterday and it took 5 hours, but once you get to the front, you can stare into her eyes for as long as you want.” So, got 5 hours to kill? Visit Pippin Barr’s website at This Link and play the game for yourself! The Artist Is Present– The Video Game is set to the museum’s hours, so players can only enjoy it when MoMA is open (Eastern Standard Time, of course). It’s also closed on Tuesdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Thanks to The Awl for The Tip!

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