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The Games We Play

Exhibit Highlights Art in Classic Games

Posted 01.13.14

Games are tools for learning, comprehension, logic and social interaction. 

A picture of the antique Parker Brother's board game Broadway.

When was the last time you played a board game? Or a card game? Or solved a puzzle? For most of us, these activities are relegated to memories of childhood. More recent pastimes include Super Smash Brothers, Assassin's Creed, Minecraft and Sushi Cat (a personal favorite.)

But take a closer look at the royalty on those Bicycle playing cards or the layout that Monopoly board and note the design behind our classic game pieces. This month at the Decker Library we will be exploring the art of classic games - board, card and puzzle.

Games are tools for learning, comprehension, logic and social interaction. The pieces we use to play also serve as examples of cultural design aesthetic, from the engravings of Victorian-era board games to the hand-painted and embellished pictures on early playing card decks.

In our upstairs display, take a look at a few vintage board game designs including the 1800s English games "Basket of Fruit" and "The Cottage of Content." Also examine the diversity of design involved in the ancient game of chess, and see if you can solve the picture puzzles in childhood favorites such as "I Spy" and "Magic Eye."

Downstairs will host a history of the playing card deck, from its roots in the design of tarot to modern artist reinterpretations. This exhibit includes designs from 15th century Venice and decks by contemporary artists Bea Nettles, Jeffrey Encke and Peter H. Beaman.

So stop in to view this month's exhibit at the Decker Library. It might inspire you to put down the controller and pick up a deck (Apples to Apples, anyone?)

January 13 - Feburary 28, 2014
Curated by Allison Fischbach

Circulation policy for books on exhibit
Circulating books on display in the museum cases may be put on hold at any time during the week, and are available for checkout on Friday. Please see a staff member at the circulation desk to request a book from the cases. Titles, when available, may be checked out at any time from the MRC.
For books on display from the Special Collections (Cage), please see a reference librarian.

Image information
This page: An image of the board game "Broadway" released by Parker Brothers. From The Games We Played: The Golden Age of Board and Table Games by Margaret K. Hofer (GV 1317 .H64 2003 Quarto).
Thumbnail: Cards from the deck Most Wanted designed by Jeffrey Encke (N 7433.4 .E48 M68 Cage).



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