Artists across the globe will be hiding art on Saturday, June 12, as part of a one-day art hunt called Game of Shrooms. Launched by Daniel “Attaboy” Seifert in 2019, the annual event features thousands of artists hiding mushroom-themed art.
If you find a Game of Shrooms artwork, it’s yours to keep.
Here in Phoenix, the list of participating artists includes Robert Gentile, James B. Hunt, and Kristin Wesley, whose works you’ve likely seen exhibited in creative hubs like Roosevelt Row and Grand Avenue. If you’re not sure where to look for art that day, add those areas to your short list.
Artist Daniel “Attaboy” Seifert launched Game of Shrooms in 2019.
Wesley recalls learning about Game of Shrooms through Hi-Fructose, the contemporary art magazine Seifert co-founded with artist Annie Owens in 2005.
“I love community-based public art that you don’t have to see in a museum,” Wesley says. “You can just to experience it like a regular person.” For years, her Friendly Flowers have dotted the urban landscape in Phoenix.
Lately, she’s been making mushrooms and mandalas inspired by a symbol for chaos, putting them on panels and T-shirts she’ll be hiding for Saturday’s event. “The idea is that all these pieces get put in public places, so more people can experience art.”
Seifert recalls his grandmother painting mushrooms on ceramics in her studio, and says part of mushrooms’ appeal is the fact that they pop up unexpectedly. “This year I’m really thinking about the ways nature invades human space.”
He’s seen artists use various mediums for Game of Shrooms, including painting, sculpture, embroidery, and more. For one particularly memorable piece, an artist channeled Andy Warhol by creating a box for an over-the-counter version of psilocybin, a hallucinogenic found in certain mushrooms.
Some artists remain anonymous, according to Seifert. But most put their name and Instagram account, plus #gameofshrooms or #shroomdrop, on their work. That way people who want to know more can explore an artist’s larger body of work.
Even so, Seifert says it’s not about promoting the work. “It’s one day when it’s not about the hustle or selling your brand,” he says. “It’s all about making and sharing the art.”
For Hunt, the event is an especially great fit. He’s been hiding art in public spaces since the early 1990s. “It’s a fun way for people to connect with the work outside of a gallery setting, where they sometimes feel obligated to be there or to react in a certain way,” he says.
Hunt estimates that he’s hidden about 3,000 artworks through the years. For Game of Shrooms, he’ll be collaborating with Gentile on a garden-like set of paintings with sculptural elements.
Typically, artists drop clues on social media about where they’ll be hiding artworks. Some prefer that people simply stumble on their creations.
Either way, there’s a democratizing effect. “Famous people to little kids can make art for Game of Shrooms,” Seifert says.
For Seifert, the day feels like an informal, inclusive holiday. “I’ve always had a weird fascination with holidays, but so many of them like Valentine’s Day and Christmas can make people feel excluded,” he says. “This is a guilt- and nationalism-free art-making holiday.”
Game of Shrooms 2021 takes place on Saturday, June 12. Find locations through the Google Map on the event website.
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