Where does an artist turn when variations on a theme just becomes a rut? For some, such as Brian Eno, lateral-thinking exercises are all they need to spark creativity. Eno co-created the “Oblique Strategies,” where each card in the deck has a phrase or question to inspire an artist to try a new approach. But when random-idea generators, exercise, or alcohol can’t wake up the creative spirit, perhaps a trip to Calder Brannock’s “Adventure Residency Program Headquarters” is just what the curator ordered. This Maryland Institute College of Art grad acts like a mystery-cruise director for artists, taking them on trips to nearby undisclosed locations—with no knowledge of their fellow explorers—and asks them to create works related to that day’s adventure. With their comfort zones discarded, artists must rely on cooperation, trust, chance, and social interaction to create their work. The travelers’ art is then displayed at the Flashpoint Gallery, where viewers are encouraged to use the “Adventure Gear” on hand to make their own pieces and sign up for future trips. Brannock has a thing for mobile art experiences: His “Camper Contemporary” is a 1967 Yellowstone camper that’s been altered to serve as a functional gallery space that can be parked anywhere, from art fairs to Walmart parking lots. But the populist idealism behind “Adventure Residency Program Headquarters” is far too big to fit inside a 45-year-old caravan.
The exhibit is on view noon to 6 p.m. Tuesdays–Saturdays to April 27 at Flashpoint Gallery, 916 G St. NW. Free. flashpointdc.org. (202) 315-1305.