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Posted at 4:20 PM ET, 03/ 6/2007

Artomatic Is Back

By Julia Beizer

It's official. Artomatic, the out-there art fair, opens in the former U.S. Patent and Trademark Building in Crystal City on Friday, April 13, and continues until Sunday, May 20.

The visual and performing arts extravaganza is known for its inclusive admission policies. Any artist who can pay the minimal admission fee can participate. As you might expect, that means some great art goes on display right alongside some not-so-great art. Nevertheless, it's a scene. A bazaar of the arts, if you will.

Over the years, AOM has prompted quite a few bad reviews in this town -- several of them from Post critics. The headline of Blake Gopnik's 2004 review -- "Artomatic 2004: Hanging Is Too Good for It" -- pretty much sums up his thoughts in a nutshell. Post critic Michael O'Sullivan wasn't entirely positive in his review on the last big Artomatic, either, but he wrote: "Unsurprisingly, though, wading through the mediocre stuff only makes stumbling across the good stuff that much more fun."

What do you think out there? Does an art show need a curator to be worth your time? Any former Artomatic-goers excited about this year's installment?


By Julia Beizer  | March 6, 2007; 4:20 PM ET
Categories:  Museums  
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I have participated in Artomatic in years past, and it was originally a cool grass roots art happening! The last couple of AOM's have gotten so big and so trashy that I don't even want to go see it as a spectator, much less participate as an artist. If I want to go to a yard sale, I'll look in the Post Classifieds. It's a shame that the art scene in Washington has degraded to this state. There used to be great galleries like Franz Bader, Brody's, and Gallery K, which are all gone now. Now, all that's left for artists is this desperate chance to be seen known as Artomatic. Artists chomp at the bit to cough up a hundred bucks to exhibit because there aren't enough places in town to show.....

Posted by: George | March 7, 2007 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Artomatic is not trying to make an artist statement like a gallery it is trying to build a community among artists by providing the opportunity for them to connect and to build an audience for these artists.

The visual art system of this community has found art that interests them but all should know that Artomatic is more than visual artists,there are poets, actors, music, dancers all collaborating in building a community of artists.

Come on April 13th and see if you can find something you like or are interested in.

Posted by: George | March 8, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Hey why not mention the positive articles written by Michael in the past and Jessica did a positive one.

You can still hype the Washington Post with something positive!

Posted by: George | March 8, 2007 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I've attended Art-O-Matic twice, and while it takes a lot of energy to cover all that ground, I found it very exciting, like a scavenger hunt, where you never know what great installation you're going to find around the next corner.

Posted by: Emily | March 8, 2007 5:14 PM | Report abuse

In a city of "movers and shakers" who spend their non-working time eating and watching television, Art-O-Matic provides those with a 'creative bent' the opportunity to meet one another and dream a little. For the folks who seek reprieve from endless nights of television and still-life suburbia, Art-O-Matic provides a few hours of interesting exposure to creativity, even though most of it is not considered "blue-chip." Folks like Blake Gopnik are free to hang out in chic DC galleries (are there any?) or museum tours and play 'upper crust' for an evening of ego polishing. We are not all so inclined. Certainly, in a city that tends to cater to the tourist more so than the local, events of this type that build community and provide for a few hours of out-of-the-ordinary entertainment are a positive development.

Anson Holzer
Participating Artist, Art-O-Matic 2006

Posted by: Anson Holzer | April 3, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

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