Skip to main content

This Free Game Lets Users Build Their Own Virtual Art Museums

Thanks to an ever-growing catalog of digital exhibitions, virtual tours and other online cultural offerings, art lovers sequestered at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic have plenty of options for socially distanced creative expression. For those who prefer a do-it-yourself approach to artistic appreciation, consider downloading "Occupy White Walls," a free video game that allows users to design their own art gallery.

Available on gaming platform Steam, the building experience features 2,200 unique architectural elements—including spiral staircases, art deco lighting and stained glass windows—and more than 6,000 artworks ranging from Old Master paintings to contemporary creations. Daisy, an artificial intelligence assistant curator, is available to help interpret users' collections and suggest works they might enjoy.

"I always struggle to define it," Yarden Yaroshevski, chief executive of StikiPixels, the London-based tech firm behind the game, tells the New York Times' Andrew Dickson. "It's a massive multiplayer game, a space where people can build galleries and create their own museums. It's also a platform for emerging artists."

"Occupy White Walls" allows users to design their own galleries, tour others' creations, and—above a certain level—create original mosaic artworks. (Courtesy of StikiPixels)

Galleries created in "Occupy White Walls" range from indoor fields of grass with pixelated art on the walls to dimly lit, marble-tiled rooms and minimalist white-walled halls. Users in search of inspiration can browse the game's stunning collection of player galleries for examples of out-of-the-box and traditional offerings alike.

"It not only gives you the opportunity to design your own space; you can take inspiration from all this amazing art," "Occupy White Walls" user Jenna Juilfs tells the Times.

The game offers an array of freedoms unique to the digital realm. One of Juilfs' galleries floats in outer space and displays photographs taken by the Hubble telescope, while another sits on a pontoon surrounded by water.

Adds Juilfs, "I work in marketing, so it's a really good way of staying creative."

"Occupy White Walls" launched on the gaming platform Steam about 15 months ago. To date, the site's roughly 50,000 users—about a fifth of whom have joined in the past month—have produced galleries spanning some 215 million virtual square feet, according to the Times.

Future updates to

Future updates to "Occupy White Walls" will include the ability to display 3-D installations and sculptures. (Courtesy of StikiPixels)

As Haniya Rae wrote for Hyperallergic in April 2019, new users represented by avatars resembling posable wooden mannequins begin the game in a cloudy void. When Rae placed her gallery's first wall, the game responded playfully, noting, "Good! Walls are essential for art hanging!"

For now, users can only display two-dimensional artworks. But StikiPixels is currently working on an update that includes 3-D sculptures and installations. In addition to adding three-dimensional features, the company hopes to allow creatives to upload their own artworks, paving the way for the platform to serve as a virtual art marketplace.

Yaroshevski tells the Times that he came up with the idea for "Occupy White Walls" soon after founding StikiPixels in 2010. There are multiple video games centered on creating artwork, he found, but few that simulated the experience of curating and displaying collections. (Examples of other art-centric games include "Passpartout: The Starving Artist," a 2017 release that enables players to envision artistic careers without taking real-world risks, and "Mondo Museum," a still-in-development museum building simulator.)

"It seemed crazy," says Yaroshevski. "There are games for everything, even street-cleaning simulators. But not art."


Popular posts from this blog

History of Art Timeline

The historical past of art is usually told as a chronology of masterpieces created during each civilization. It can thus be framed as a narrative of high culture, epitomized by the Wonders of the World. On any other hand, vernacular art expressions can even be integrated into art historic narratives, called folk arts or craft. The more intently that an art historian engages with these latter sorts of low culture, the much more likely it is that they will determine their work as analyzing visual culture or cloth culture, or as contributing to fields associated with art historical past, akin to anthropology or archaeology. In the latter cases, art gadgets may be called archeological artifacts. Surviving art from this era comprises small carvings in stone or bone and cave painting. The first traces of human-made gadgets appeared in southern Africa, the Western Mediterranean, Central and Eastern Europe Adriatic Sea, Siberia Baikal Lake, India, and Australia. These first traces are general…

How to Show Art Work when the Gallery Says No Thanks

There are places in the town where you live where you can show your artwork when the big gallery you solicited said, "No, thanks."
Other artists may need to find venues other than galleries to show their artworks as well. Visual artists living in art-rich communities where there is a lot of local competition will need to get creative about display opportunities.

Or on the other hand, in towns without large art venues, it is important for artists to find smaller and less obvious places to show your art.

How to Show Art Work When The Gallery Says No Thanks

1. Show Where You Go

The most successful approach to finding a place in your town to display your artwork is to solicit a place that you go to frequently. Make a list of all the places you go to each day, each week, and each month.

Make a special trip, or the next time you visit note if the establishment currently exhibits any artwork, if it is local, and if it is for sale.

Also note if they have available wall space where a…

‘The Painter and the Thief’ Review: The Art of Healing (and Vice Versa)

The Painter and the Thief, Benjamin Ree's documentary on a curious friendship, starts with a crime. The Czech artist Barbora Kysilkova is exhibiting her work in an Oslo gallery — she's recently moved to Norway to live with her husband — when two paintings are stolen. They are worth roughly 20,000 euros together; one of them, "Swan Song," is considered to be her masterpiece. Surveillance footage captures a duo entering the building through a back door and exiting with two rolled-up canvases. The culprits are later identified and caught. During a hearing, Kysilkova approaches one of the accused. His name is Karl Bertil-Nordland. Why did you pick those two particular paintings to steal, she inquires. "Because they were beautiful," he replies.Ree has said that he had come across the case when he was researching the high rate of art theft in his the Scandinavian country, and had originally envisioned doing a short piece on the what, where and why of it all. Inst…