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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At 3:39 PM, Blogger Freddie Sirmans said...

Just browsing the net, very interesting.


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