The national political climate and art are colliding this year at Artomatic.
The free six-week art extravaganza debuts tonight in Crystal City. Among the politically-inspired pieces: a large paper mache President Trump with a Russian flag lapel pin and a Gollum-like Vladimir Putin on his shoulder.
Meanwhile, a display that gained national attention during the 2016 campaign season encourages attendees to take photographs of their own backsides in a cut-out “Rump” poster. And dueling portraits feature two politicians holding their fingers to their lips, telling each other to be quiet.
By and large, however, the event is more eclectic than political. Other works include giant plywood street art rabbits and a painting of a nude woman wielding a sword.
Artomatic kicks off tonight for its third stint in Crystal City. The event includes the work of 600 artists across seven floors of vacant office space at 1800 S. Bell Street — 100,000 square feet of visual artwork, film, performance art, three stages of live music and free art workshops. It will also host the first Artomatic wedding on April 22.
“Artomatic has a very simple mission: to build community among artists,” Artomatic board chair emeritus George Koch said at a preview event Friday morning.
Among the collaborators this year is the Crystal City Business Improvement District, which partnered with Artomatic and developer Vornado to make the space available. Crystal City previously hosted Artomatic in 2007 and 2012.
Crystal City BID president and CEO Angela Fox said that as the neighborhood evolves, such events help “give it a soul.”
“We pave the way, then get out the way and Artomatic comes in here, all volunteers and transforms this space,” Fox said.
Artomatic begins Friday with its opening night party, starting at 7 p.m. It will be open Wednesdays and Thursdays from noon to 10 p.m., and Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from noon to midnight. The exhibits are closed Mondays and Tuesdays.