Monday, May 14, 2007

Artomatic's last week

As AOM winds down and closes on May 20, I've been thinking about how each AOM seems to serve not only to re-charge the artistic energy of the region, but also manages to pop out an art superstar or two from amongst the masses of artists. I will also finally answer JT Kirkland's question from three years ago.

Artomatic began in 1999 in the historic Manhattan Laundry building in Washington, DC. Around three hundred and fifty artists had cleaned, set up lights, painted and took over the 100,000 square feet space. Over 20,000 visitors attended the first Artomatic over a period of 6 weeks. The uberartist(s) emerging from this first AOM were the Dumbacher Brothers, who went on to showing at Fusebox Gallery and others around the country, as well as exhibiting at the Corcoran.

In 2000, 665 artists exhibited and 200 others performed at the old Hechinger’s building as AOM returned bigger and attracted more visitors. The name that emerged from that second Artomatic was Tim Tate, who went on to show many times at Fraser Gallery, open the Washington Glass School (now the nation's second largest warm glass school), start a whole new movement in glass, and place his work in a multitude of museums.

In 2002 more than 1000 artists and performers took part at the 3rd AOM at the Southwest Waterfront Building. M. Jordan Tierney's gorgeous installation began to propel her towards her current success, including exhibitions at the NMWA and many galleries

Even more artists participated in 2004 at the old Capitol Children’s Museum in Northeast DC. Both Kelly Towles and Kathryn Cornelius jumped out of that AOM, but the true superstar artist from that show was Frank Warren of Postsecret. By then, around 40,000 visitors were checking out AOM.

So who will be the emerging artstar from the current Artomatic?

My money is on Laurel Lukaszewski, already represented in the DC area by Project 4 Gallery.

Only time will tell, but buy her work now.

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