Happy Hero Worshipping

Now that video game fanatics are dying for the cause and others have pledged eternal allegiance to particular hardware types, play has ascended to the level of hard core devotion. In the last few years, Brody Condon's work has been concerned with overlaps between the similarities in life cycles and social networks of video game developers, medieval knights, and a particular new age cult. His current solo show, at New York's Virgil de Voldere Gallery through February 11, is aptly titled 'Worship.' On view are hacked video games--including an eponymous video documenting the ritualistic worship 'performed within the confines of the 3D massively multiplayer online game Anarchy Online,' a polygon sculpture of game engineer John Carmack, and a Lamborghini Countach made of cast plastic branches and based on a model that once came with the video game Need For Speed. Each takes their place in a pantheon of deified subjects and objects. Populated by sleek Elvises, floating gurus, and candy-colored crystals, Condon's work is as fun as it is historically-informed. He sees parallels between the evolution of painting and the trajectory of video game design, with portraits becoming more life-like and landscapes taking on richer detail. This insight leads him to make 'new media' work that doesn't always need to be plugged-in, and which is as skillfully crafted as it is a display of our own consumption. - Marisa Olson