Washington DC’s Artomatic was a Colorful, Exotic Experience

I hiked my way out of the metro station, hoping it hadn’t started raining. The sloughing of my sandals echoed eerily against the facades of the vacant office buildings. Near the Nationals’s stadium in Washington DC are a clutch of buildings which are complete on the outside, but unfinished within. Inside one of these (directly above the Navy Yard Metro entrance I might add) was Artomatic. It filled 7 floors of open spaces, enclosed by bare-concrete, exposed beams, and floor-to-ceiling windows. Each level was divided into dozens of mini-galleries. Some of the them were quite professional, some were color photo print-outs pinned to the wall with straight pins. It was quite odd, walking out of an interactive video-piece to the unrestrained air-stream of an unfinished air-duct.

On each floor was a musical act. One of these was Flo Anito, a pop/jazz singing from the DC Area:

Flo Anito at artomatic by John J. Sample
Flo Anito at Artomatic. Photo by John J. Sample

The best thing about Flo’s performance was her lyrics. Quirky, poetic, unexpected, her thoughtfulness and verve shined through.

Wandering around Artomatic, looking at nude sculptures one moment and photos from a trip to Laos the next (and realizing how fine the line is between nudes-as-a-study-in-the-intricacies-of-the-human-form and nudes-as-pornography), I happened to look out of a window. I watched a rainstorm collapse across the landscape. The wind ordered the rain into curtains which then billowed, slapping and tickling shallow puddles. Directly below my window was a low bowl of asphalt covered with water–with the sky dark with clouds and the wind worrying its surface, I could not on simple observation have guessed whether the puddle was inches, feet or leagues deep.

Looking outside, I found I was watching art. Not the planned art of sculpture, but something akin to the spontaneous art of documentary photography. The rains’ intricacies and textures rivaled any of the oil-paintings or wood-carvings I had seen.

PS: Thanks to the Friedman program for asking the CMU DC office to tell us about all of these cool events!

Inspirational Quote:

“The music that really turns me on is either running toward God or away from God. Both recognize the pivot, that God is at the center of the jaunt.” Bono

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