The Arlington Arts Center presents “Art Scouts,” a group show in which six artists with strong DC presence explain their art practices by presenting other artists who use the same materials or methods. The artists include Zoe Charlton (drawing); Mary Early (sculpture); J.J. McCracken (performance and installation); Maggie Michael (painting); Jefferson Pinder (video) and Kerry Skarbakka (photography). Together these “art scouts,” each curating an individual gallery space, have created a show that highlights six distinctive ways of working.
In “Beyond Pavement and Windows,” painter Maggie Michael has selected artists who, despite the strong pull toward developing a self-centered, independent art practice, have chosen to help other artists. “I admire and appreciate each person included here for the time and resources she or he offers to other artists, providing them with opportunities, exhibitions, and audiences,” Michael writes. “In addition to making their own work, they create an environment in which others can do the same–assured of a concrete location/context in which to exhibit. Each of these artists develops an individual (in some cases collaborative) studio practice and a public exhibitions program; maintaining both of these simultaneously requires patience, commitment, and a strange level of belief in the system of artists in the art world. This is no tea party. It is closer to open source, and serves as a grass roots bridge from the brewing hermetic state to the Coming Community.“
Artists include Dustin Carlson and Jason Hughes, co-founders of Gallery Four, Baltimore, MD; Nicholas Frank, founder of Hermetic (1993 – 2001) and curator at the Institute of Visual Arts (Inova), University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI; Michelle Grabner and Brad Killam, Suburban, Oak Park, IL; Felicity Hogan, formerly MoCADC and Flat, NY, currently at Artist Alliance, Inc. NY and (NYFA) New York Foundation for the Arts; John Riepenhoff, Green Gallery, East and West, Milwaukee, WI; José Ruiz, formerly Decatur Blue (DC) and Queens Museum of Art (NY), and currently at the Bronx River Art Center (NY) and the Bronx Museum of the Arts (NY); Bill Thelen, Lump Gallery and Projects, Raleigh, NC; Austin Thomas, Pocket Utopia, Bushwick, NYC and mobile
In her statement for the show, Michael makes a case for building community. “When there is no end in sight,” she suggests, “consider opening a gallery or building a platform.”
“Are ideas dangerous?” she asks. “What do protection and advocacy have in common? How brave are you? Do you trust language? How do you want to communicate? Continue?…
“Translate with a neighbor. Share food. Walk to a corner. Wait. Ask someone to help you understand a street sign. Listen to their answer. Then ask: ‘What is painting?’ Cross the street together. Look both ways and see what happens….”
“Art Scouts, Arlington Arts Center, Arlington. VA. Through August 21, 2010. Curating artists include Zoe Charlton (drawing); Mary Early (sculpture); J.J. McCracken (performance and installation); Maggie Michael (painting); Jefferson Pinder (video) and Kerry Skarbakka (photography).
The Arlington Show: Images from the opening