Also at SJMA

Pippin Barr, Let’s Play: Ancient Greek Punishment

I went to the San José Museum of Art to see two photography shows* but wandered through the rest of the museum as well. I never really know what to expect here but am frequently pleasantly surprised by something. This visit was no exception.

*Rising Dragon and Leibovitz’s Pilgrimage.

Swans, Swine, and Sirens consists of art inspired by greek myths. Nothing quite as elaborate as Sandow Birk’s take on Dante* but it’s a fun show which hints at the myth-referencing Leibovitz is doing. We’re supposed to recognize all the references here and it’s interesting to see how they inspire artists to translate them into art which is relevant today.

*Yes, I know Dante is not Greek myth. 

My favorite piece by far—both of the exhibit and my entire visit to the museum—was Pippin Barr’s Let’s Play Ancient Greek Punishment. The implementation of the myths cracks me up but I also have a soft spot for unwinnable video games like these too.* I watched and tried not to laugh while some kids tried to play the games without getting the joke. Then I went and wasted too much time making sure that the games worked correctly.

*I love, LOVE, Futilitris.

The Prometheus game in particular is brilliant. But the math nerd in me still prefers the Zeno game.

There’s also a Hung Liu exhibition which I can’t really do justice to since I missed the companion exhibitions in the area. The pieces on display here are nice and worth seeing. Especially the giant mural. I’d like to be able to step back a bit further though in order to take it in better.

Author: Nick Vossbrink

Blogging about Photography, Museums, Printing, and Baseball Cards from both Princeton New Jersey and the San Francisco Bay Area. On Twitter as @vossbrink, WordPress at, and the web at

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