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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Thing 156: Artomatic

When I was a sophomore in college, I met a local boy who was an artist and into graphic novels. We kinda liked each other and he asked me out on a date. He came to pick me up from Foggy Bottom, and I asked him where we were going. "The waterfront," he replied. "We're going to see an art show."

Looking back, my narrow knowledge of DC at the time was downright shameful, but I was so confused when we got on the Metro to go to the Georgetown waterfront, and even more confused when we transferred to the green line. When we emerged, there didn't appear to be any water in sight, only a Safeway, a parking lot, and a rather large, abandoned-looking office building.

You've guessed it -- the waterfront was of course the Southwest waterfront, and the art show was Artomatic. It all felt very glamorous and exciting to be in an exotic part of the city and seeing an alternative, indy art show that sure had some weird stuff. Sadly, the boy and I never made it to date two, and I barely stepped foot in Southwest after that.

It took eight years for Artomatic to come back to the waterfront, and it took me that long to pay it a return visit. On Saturday, I strolled down the waterfront, now the home of the stadium and a neighborhood I frequent (the Boyfriend has lived in the littlest quadrant nearly a year), to a shiny new office building that has been taken over for the month of June by all manner of artists and performers.

If you haven't yet been to Artomatic, I'm not sure what you're waiting for. I guarantee: You will find something in this art show that you love, if only because of the sheer magnitude of works of art available to see. The show is nine full floors, of which we only made it through three, and as it was we saw gorgeous, thought-provoking, silly, ugly, weird, scary and peaceful works. Sculpture, oil, watercolor, installation, tin foil, greeting card, photography and marshmallow pieces. You will find something you cannot live without, and something you'd wish you'd never seen, before you leave.

I am primarily attracted to photography, and really loved Tony DeFilippo's photos of the District, as well as Jim Darling's portraits and stories in his 100 Strangers project. I also love abstract art with bright colors and repeating patterns, and was completely drawn in by Joel Church's pieces. I enjoyed Ginny Kinsey's block prints, with their messy outlines and unique point of view, and I still don't know what to make of Bunny Noir, but I really enjoyed it.

And that was from one third of the entire thing -- before my brain shut off and my stomach started growling. Think of all the fabulous things I've missed in the other six floors! And the live performances that happen through the day, each day!

Artomatic continues through July 5. Don't make the mistake I did by waiting eight years between visits.


Stephanie said...

I was obsessed with Ben Tolman's work. Such detail it was amazing. Of course I have only gotten through 2 floors...this is going to take a few more trips until I get it right...