Arts / Gaming

Level Up!: Bushwick’s Morgan Avenue Underground video game artshow

Are videogames "tokens of fetishistic nostalgia or predictors of a dystopian future?"

Lisa Rosenberg and Jenn Hyland at the Morgan Avenue Underground Photo by Brady Dale

On Saturday, Morgan Avenue Underground opened “Level Up,” the latest art show in the apartment basement / gallery, run by Lisa Rosenberg and Jenn Hyland. Hyland took on curatorial duties on this show meant to explore whether video games are “tokens of fetishistic nostalgia or predictors of a dystopian future,” from the artists statement.

The roommates/co-gallerists began doing art events there this summer. They explained that they have a strong feminist/queer orientation to the artists in their circle but are starting to find artists reaching out to them. They are moving to every other month shows now that it is winter. They got a nice turnout for the show, despite a weekend shutdown of the L train, the best one for reaching their spot.

The show included paintings inspired by classic games, actual video games, character designs for games, cross-stitch and one tablet based electronic piece.


Detail from “Super Mountain World” by Ken (2013)

“Super Mountain World” is a painting by Ken, who also created Internet sensation “Super Bushwick World.” It’s inspired by the Super Mario World‘s Overworld.


Salty Bet” was a found work at the show. An Internet creation where over 1300 characters are randomly paired against each other, governed by two competing AIs.


“Onnet: 199X” by Ray Bruwelheide

Ray Bruwelheide created a tablet based tribute called “Onnet: 199X.” Photography does it no justice. He explained that it’s supposed to look like a distressed video tape documenting the main character from the Super Nintendo game Earthbound using his psychic powers. Look for it on his site before long.

Bruwelheide explained that the Internet has come to shape his artwork, as he has come to make everything in Photoshop. Making a Pokemon noir comic enabled him to realize that video game inspired work enabled him to find an audience. After that, since most of his followers were viewing his work online, he began to make small animations in his work, because there was no reason not to take full advantage of the flexibility the Internet affords.

Morgan Avenue Underground party - Photo by Brady Dale

Party photo. More photos here.


Morgan Avenue Underground isn’t marked. You have to be willing to look.

When you find it, you can check into the gallery on Foursquare.

Series: Brooklyn

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