The idea of what “classic” means shifts with every generation. Once, it referred to the works of ancient Rome and Greece. Ask a teenager now, and he’ll probably point you toward a Nintendo 64.
Painter Dan Hernandez splits the difference (with, okay, a heavy bent to the video game generations) with his “Genesis 2014” series of antiquity-style frescoes that capture the great moments of 1980s arcade games. The exhibit, currently running at the Kim Foster Gallery in New York, spends a lot of time with Space Invaders and the iconic array of evil aliens swarming the skies–but other images of the ’80s appear in the exhibit, as well. There are pieces like the Battle of Nesega, which clever viewers with their nerd-goggles on will parse as “NES/Sega,” and which features imagery that recalls Final Fight and Contra–“classics” of the console age.
Others in the series spend time with the analog entertainments of the age–alongside the video games, there are pieces like Life of Shipwreck–the G.I. Joe sailor–and fragments depicting images of Cobra Commander and his foot soldiers, depicted in the style of the age (rather than those of their contemporary makeovers). It’s a clever series that highlights the visual similarities between the perspective-free art of antiquity, and the similarly singular sizes of side-scrolling (and top-scrolling) adventure games of the early days of gaming.