Sunday, May 20, 2007

Like the Louvre, Artomatic overwhelms...

And like the Louvre...

Well, the similarities really end there, being that Artomatic, unlike the home of the Mona Lisa, describes itself as "unfiltered, unfettered and unclassified." Every year new undiscovered creative gems emerge. And every year thousands (including me over this final weekend) flock to this grand cacophany to seek answers to a burning question:

What is the weirdest *creative matter* the DC art world can produce?

In 2005, we saw a random, buck-naked septuagenarian artist's model at the bottom of a flight of stairs. Then three Billy the Big-Mouthed Bass turned in unison from the wall and croaked: "I want to die."

No fish this year. Just panoramae of Peeps and the following top 10:

1. Caged junk. "Containment is futile!" shouted the graffiti by a rabbit den filled with gloves, socks and duct tape.

2. Seminal portraits of Lily Allen and Mr. T

3. Ever wonder what happened to the girl in Lost in Translation who mentioned "going to art school and taking dumb photos of my feet?" Her work apparently has found its way to DC.

4. A tapestry with a sad clown (is there any other kind?)

5. Voo-doo altars! (although none featured a Hostess cupcake like the ones I saw in New Orleans)

6. The existential question (comparing two Calder-esque mobiles): Who's in the steel cage? Who's in the acrylic box? The audience posted their comments on the wall, with allusions to Kurt Vonnegut, Maya Angelou and, randomly, the manager at Ted's Montana Grill.

7. Little kids! Perhaps the venue change to Crystal City has made the event more family-friendly this year. I waited (to no avail) to hear one of them point at a Cy Twombley or Jackson Pollack imitation and cry: "I could do that!"

8. The walk to the venue itself, through the endless winding tunnels of the Crystal City business park lined with posters promoting "Security Unleashed" and the newest military helicopters. Fortunately, thanks to paintings like the one depicting Bush with a "Liar" dunce hat, the extended middle finger of the artistic rebel was well represented.

9. Second Life art galleries. Some art dealers are using these as testing grounds for new artists. If a Second Life show is successful, a "first life" show might be tried in New York.

10. Nudity outside of its usual context. "Cloaked nudity," if you will, such as the nubile figures prominently "hidden" in a painting of the American flag and in a photograph called "3 bottles." Another painting showed its subversive spirit by stamping "Che!" all over the back and ass of a nubile young model. ("It's about the revolution, man!")

God bless Artomatic.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Fashion-blogging Wisconsin Avenue: Dior

Iron fist. Velvet glove. Great suit.

Often Dior disappoints me by showing the same dresses featured in its print ads. Right now it's that flirty taupe dress with the basket-weave bodice. Beautiful, true, but old news. On my morning walk to the Metro, I'd like to view something a little different than what's in last month's Vogue. Thank you.

And one day they listened. Out came the Gravitas Suit - eggshell white, winter wool, exquisite neckline detail and tailoring. This is an Nancy Pelosi/Segolene Royal* ensemble. One automatically stands up straighter walking past such a garment. In fact, I don't think a woman should be allowed near this item unless she's brokered a peace treaty, funded a girls' school on another continent or single-handedly reversed global warming.

* If she had won yesterday's election. God bless the godless French - voting on a Sunday. Yet today is a day of sadness. Although France had to enter the non-35-hour-work-week free-market world at some point, where will Americans now look when we fantasize about weekdays at the cafe, the biggest action item tracking down the perfect baguette?

* Please forgive the lack of photo. Attempts to capture the window displays resulted in serious glare and photography like a bad art school project. If my prose does not suffice, please check out the wares yourself just steps from the Friendship Heights metro.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Fashion-blogging Wisconsin Avenue: Brooks Brothers

Tennis whites. Twin sets. Single-strand pearls.

This is not clothing, mind you; this is armor - the armor of WASP invincibility. If you are wearing an ensemble like this, you are guaranteed to:

- Always get the best service at the Volvo dealership

- Beat out that skank at the silent auction for the Red Door "Day of Beauty"

- Neither slip nor flail awkwardly when traversing that tricky gap between dock and schooner

Ultimately, all I know is this: No shirt has ever emerged from beneath my iron looking so crisp. I'm continually amazed that Chevy Chase allows me to live within its borders.

Read more scintillating commentary on the Chevy Chase window displays...including in today's Washington Post Express!

* Please forgive the lack of photo. Attempts to capture the window displays resulted in serious glare and photography like a bad art school project. If my prose does not suffice, please check out the wares yourself just steps from the Friendship Heights metro.

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Your Most Vivid Eastern Market Memory?

Mine: Staggering through the tomato stands in the crazy heat of summer, contemplating, then foregoing, the thought of a stack of waffles. A cute vintage bag and necklace found their way into my possession. This stop was the first of six, from Tenleytown to Pentagon City, my brother and I would take in his quest for the perfect pair of "mandals."

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