Artomatic brings the capital the most overwhelming art experience imaginable - an 11 story building packed full of artisans, craft merchants, emerging fine artists, skilled area performers, and energetic workshop instructors. Thousands of diverse artists enthusiastically mix their talents in this decadent hyperactive whirlwind of artistic exploration and adventure. Local and national sponsors provide a variety of resources for the thriving bazaar to continue to serve the Capital in all things art.

In a sea of colorful paintings, ceramics, and sculpture, the din of excited patrons and performance artists, lies an elegantly understated installation of memories. Stepping up to the little corner room on the 9th floor your eyes scroll over the thousands of paper histories in greeting cards, diary pages, photographs strewn across bookshelves, filing cabinets, a desk, a dresser, and the floor. The tiny room holds several lifetimes of the Capital’s personal histories.

Rachel Farbiarz has gathered the district’s personal histories for display with “The Genizah Project.” It’s a beautifully simple idea - the same idea that sparked “The Museum of Broken Relationships.” Art is by nature personal. This artwork is a visual demonstration of the place of art in our lives. Set up as an ordinary home office, “The Genizah Project” is a room of contemplation, propelling your artful soul into personal recollection and thoughtful reverence for those who gave the pieces of their lives to the installation. 

Tucked away in a tiny corner on the 9th floor of Artomatic Farbiarz’s installation quietly awaits the contemplative art viewer. From the doorway the array of strewn letters, cards, brochures, and photographs beckon you in for a closer, more intimate, look. You can vaguely make out the eerie sounds of the performers nearby as your eyes take in the mass collection of discarded memories. But as you examine each scrap more closely you realize that none of these works on paper are meaninglessly rejected from the original owner. Each piece was sent to Farbiarz consciously, purposefully.

Farbiarz has collected our sacred memories and treated them with the respect our nagging conscious tells us they deserve. The room pays homage to the randomness we have kept in our lives. Letting the depth of each memory soak into you, you feel the room is the making of a beginner-hoarder, unable to fully let go of the past but unable to give ample space for each memory to maintain a stronghold in the present.

Farbiarz speaks to our humanity, our sensitivity, and our humility. While the rest of Artomatic maintains an entertaining quality, “The Genizah Project” reminds us of the fullness in which art captivates us - mind and soul.

You can find out more about Rachel Farbiarz and “The Genizah Project” by clicking here. And visit the Artomatic website www.artomatic.org. Artomatic is open in Crystal City through June 23. 

Bringing the Art in DC to You,

Kayleigh