The name 5×5 sounds like the title of every other group art show that has ever happened. The theme is familiar, too: Five curators select five artists to put up temporary public artworks around town. The show’s sponsor, the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, has pegged the event to the National Cherry Blossom Festival, meaning that the 25 artworks are bound to be lost in the jostle. Focus, if you can, on 5×1—specifically, the five artists selected by Laura Roulet, the only local curator tapped for the exhibit. She hasn’t made it easy. For example, artist Patrick McDonough has contributed “Painted Rock Hunt Game,” a “geocaching” scavenger hunt that asks visitors to search out encoded piles of rocks at museums, parks, and libraries across all eight wards. Or follow Wilmer Wilson IV, a bright new D.C. light who, covered in postage stamps, will attempt to mail himself from three different post offices in an homage to Henry “Box” Brown, a slave who actually did mail himself to freedom. Ben Ashworth’s skate park in Southeast’s Garfield Park should be easy to spot, and Charles Juhasz-Alvarado’s sound installation outside Arena Stage isn’t going anywhere. None of this stuff is to be found at the 5×5 kickoff party tonight, however. Intentionally or not, Roulet has put together an event much more ambitious than a Cherry Blossom sideshow—saying, perhaps, that art is hard, it does not fit a cultural calendar, and you absolutely must work for it. If you want to see the Floating Lab Collective’s work, you’re just going to have to track them down in their taco truck.
The 5×5 Kickoff begins at 7 p.m. at the Capitol Skyline Hotel, 10 I St. SW. Free. the5x5project.com. (202) 724-5613.