Saturday, June 19, 2010

Art Scouts form groups at Arlington Arts Center

Art Scouts, a contemporary art exhibition now at the Arlington Arts Center, enlisted six artists each to curate one room/section of the Arlington Arts Center.  The artist-curators were instructed to present other artists who use the same materials or methods as they use.  The idea is that the selected works would provide insight into the artist-curator's work.   Maybe to local art scene cognoscenti they would.  But if you know nothing about the artist-curators, that's a poor viewing angle.

Moreover, having a technological theme may have crimped the artist-curators' presentations.  Some works, while technological appropriate, seem quite dull to a viewer not interested in art technology.  Most artists draw inspiration from a variety of artistic techniques.  Having multiple artist-curators with a common theme is a good idea for an exhibition.  Perhaps a future exhibition might choose a more broadly inspiring theme.

In the midst of these weaknesses,  J.J. McCracken's selection of performance art and installations stands out as artistically coherent and deeply thought-provoking.  Within her group of selected pieces, the exhibition opening on June 18 included live components of Jerry Kaba's Play Date and Ryan Kelley's Fortress of Solitude.   Play Date and Fortress of Solitude provide different perspectives on natural and unnatural worlds -- children playing games in a toxic world, Superman diligently working to build an imaginary fortress.  They show the much different but equally bizarre worlds into which women and men can ensconce themselves.  They depict irrepressible human creativity and its inevitable tie to repetitive work.

[video included above]

The Play Ship amidst the green grounds of the Arlington Arts Center represents a much more appealing vision of humans' future world that do Play Date and Fortress of Solitude.  So after you walk about the rooms of Art Scouts, be sure to enjoy what's outside.

Art Scouts is at the Arlington Arts Center through Aug. 21.

Other art reviews from the Ode Street Tribune:

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