We Played Pokémon Go at MoMA, Here’s What Happened

The wildly popular video game gets a new look in a museum.

Courtesy of YouTube and Getty Images.
Courtesy of YouTube and Getty Images.

In a quest to find Pikachu, artnet News took to the Museum of Modern Art to play Pokémon Go. As the augmented reality video game craze consumes all the Pokéworld’s denizens, we wanted to know how pocket monsters would pair with visual art.

As to be expected of a typical Monday afternoon, MoMA was crammed with visitors of all stripes. But one thing was missing: a reliable GPS signal, which is crucial to activating the game.

Pro-tip #1: Connect to the museum’s WiFi.

Wild Pidgey at MoMA. Courtesy of artnet News.

Wild Pidgey at MoMA. Courtesy of artnet News.

It didn’t take long before a docile Pidgey appeared just outside the entrance to Tony Oursler’s exhibition on the 2nd floor. It was the day’s first capture, and it feels good.

Wild Oddish at MoMA. Courtesy of artnet News.

Wild Oddish at MoMA. Courtesy of artnet News.

As I proceeded to roam the halls and gallery spaces, the innocuous gesture of swiping at a screen netted the curiosity of several museum-goers, some of whom, of course, seemed more peeved than interested.

Security guards, on the other hand, were alarmed. One guard approached me as I attempted to capture a wild Oddish, and asked me what I was doing. After explaining, he gruffly said, “just watch your step.”

Wild Pidgey at MoMA. Courtesy of artnet News.

Wild Pidgey at MoMA. Courtesy of artnet News.

Back on the second level, I came across yet another Pidgey in the exhibition space for Rachel Harrison’s “Perth Amboy” show, and managed to capture the excitable pocket monster amid the artist’s sprawling arrangement of freestanding cardboard sheets.

Wild Voltorb at MoMA. Courtesy of artnet News.

Wild Voltorb at MoMA. Courtesy of artnet News.

Finally, I made my way to the MoMA’s courtyard, a destination that the video game urged me to visit. There, I came across Voltorb.

But alas, as Pokémon trainers of the 21st century know all too well, the battery gave way, ending the journey sooner than planned, and I had to head home, with a dead phone in hand.

Pro-tip #2: Pack a portable charger.

Lastly, a word on taking the game to museums that double-up as memorials, courtesy of the Holocaust Museum: “Please stop catching Pokemon here.”


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