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Ryan Kelly, “Fortress of Solitude”

At the end of last year, the big hub-bub in the D.C. art world was the powerful art collector Mera Rubell’s observation that she has “never seen such isolation” among artists as she has in D.C. The most recent exhibition at the Arlington Art Center, “Art Scouts,” confronts that argument. Six artists—-Zoe Charlton, Mary Early, J.J. McCracken, Maggie Michael, Jefferson Pinder, and Kerry Skarbakka—-were asked to fill galleries with artists with whom they share a medium or process. Put aside those similarities, and the subtext involves personal and professional relationships between guest curators and selected artists, which were developed through residencies, academia, gallery representation, and so forth. Some selections might have been predicted, like Pinder’s choice of sometime-collaborator Matt Ravenstahl, or Michael’s choice of Jose Ruiz, both of whom are represented by G Fine Art. Though the ties between guest curators and artists haven’t been made clear, what’s obvious is that the former have made an effort to follow the work of the latter, and likely vice-versa. What the exhibition illustrates, then, are the two hemispheres of the art world—-the product and the social. Not everyone is so isolated.

“Art Scouts” is on view 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday to August 21 at the Arlington Arts Center, 3550 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, 22201. Free. (703) 248-6800.

Image courtesy Arlington Arts Center