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Push Play

  •  Push Play
  •  Push Play
  •  Push Play
  •  Push Play
  •  Push Play
  •  Push Play
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  •  Push Play

Curated by

“No vital periods ever began from a theory. What’s first is a game, a struggle, a journey.” – Guy Debord

Seeking the initial moment described by Debord, Push Play explores the work of artists who borrow from play and games to reveal social, philosophical, and cultural issues. From playfulness, to mathematical strategy, the artists in Push Play have mined the significance of games, reinventing them to create experiences that often involve the viewer and reflect on the nature of participation in art.

Artistic processes tied to game playing have historically attracted the avant-garde, most famously the chess master Marcel Duchamp. His artistic move had his chess partner in mind: you, the viewer. Games were also intrinsic to the work of war-addled Surrealists and Dadaists, the inventors of the exquisite corpse and automatic drawing, in their quest to upend the bourgeois pretensions of art and free the artistic imagination. In the 1960s and 1970s, the countercultural and anti-war Fluxus group and the New Games Foundation questioned capitalism and corporate culture by staging massive public games and city parks. Moving away from the classical chess period of kings, queens, and bishops, the works in this exhibition do not represent medieval figures of power but strategies of decision-making around contemporary issues. Among the arcade of objects in the show is a version of Guitar Hero by Cory Arcangel, hopscotch by Mary Flanagan, and Ryan Gander’s version of blackjack - while the more mystically inclined may gravitate toward Allan McCollum and Matt Mullican’s divining game.

Traveling in an easy-to-ship box, Push Play includes smaller works and digital software, as well as instructions for building larger projects. Charged with a do-it-yourself imperative, this exhibition provides source material from which venues can adapt and add to the materials provided according to the space, facilities and local context available. The checklist may be added to with contributions from the host venue’s collections and archives, or can be the starting point for an exhibition that presents local artists’ practices in relation to a broader art issue or event.

Push Play is an exhibition curated by Melissa E. Feldman and organized and produced by Independent Curators International (ICI), New York. Push Play was made possible, in part, by grants from the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation and the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, and with the generous support from ICI’s International Forum and Board of Trustees.


Push Play Artist Pedro Reyes’ Creative Time Commission Now On View in New York

Pedro Reyes has two works on view as part of Push Play now through December 13 at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center.



ARTNews recently announced that Push Play artist Jason Rohrer will be the first video game designer to receive a solo museum exhibition.


Push Play artists Patrick Bernier & Olive Martin included in the 56th Venice Biennale

The Belgian Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale will present the work of Push Play artists Patrick Bernier & Olive Martin, as part of the project by Belgian artist Vincent Meessen.


Interview with Push Play Artist Ryan Gander in Hyperallergic

Stephanie Bailey for Hyperallergic recently interviewed Push Play artist Ryan Gander on the event of his latest solo exhibition.


Push Play in the Philadelphia Inquirer

Edith Newhall for The Inquirer recently wrote an in depth review of the exhibition Push Play at the Arcadia University Art Gallery.


New Trend in Video Games discussed on All Things Considered, npr.org

A generation has grown up with video games – and video games are growing up, too. Developers are using the medium to tell sophisticated, emotionally complex stories.




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touring schedule

Vicki Myhren Gallery, University of Denver
Denver, CO, United States
December 10, 2017 - January 1, 1970

Hedreen Gallery, Seattle University
Seattle, WA, United States
December 1, 2017 - April 3, 2017

Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons School of Design / The New School
New York, NY, United States
January 1, 1970 - December 12, 2016

The Rooms, Provincial Art Gallery Division
St. John's, NL, Canada
January 1, 1970 - January 1, 1970

Handwerker Gallery, Ithaca College
Ithaca, NY, United States
January 10, 2015 - July 11, 2015

Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
Victoria, BC, Canada
January 1, 1970 - March 8, 2015

College of Wooster Art Museum
Wooster, OH, United States
January 1, 1970 - June 3, 2015

Booking Info

Number of artists or artist groups: approximately 16 Number of works: approximately 17 Space Required: Extremely flexible Tour dates: Early 2014 – December 2017 For additional information, as well as to check specific dates of availability, contact Becky Nahom at 212.254.8200 x 129, or becky@curatorsintl.org.