The Afflicted: Jim Tretick, head of the events and program-management committee for local-artist free-for-all Artomatic.
Diagnosis: A recurring invasive gallery show. “I spend all my waking hours doing Artomatic-related tasks,” says Tretick, a 47-year-old photographer from Bowie. Since becoming involved with the hundreds-strong unjuried project in 2000, Tretick has assumed an extensive list of obligations, from securing a site to building wooden partitions for hanging artwork. The show typically runs for six weeks, but preparations can take six months. Tretick, who works on a volunteer basis, would prefer to keep his exact hourly commitment under wraps. “Uh, is my boss going to read this?” he asks.
Symptoms: Consumption of the personal life. In the months leading up to Artomatic—this year it starts May 9 at Capitol Plaza I in NoMa—Tretick says he’s forced to suspend taxes, yard work, and even his own art. “Last year, we had that crazy ice storm in February, and I lost a lot of big branches off my pine tree in my yard,” he says. “They sat there until June.” This year, even without having to duck falling branches, “I have no idea what I’m going to hang in the show,” he says of his own Artomatic contributions.
Treatment: Transplant the personal into the professional. “The good thing is my wife is almost as involved as I am, so I don’t have to send her away during Artomatic time,” says Tretick. When he began dating his now wife, Laura, in 2001, “She said, ‘What the heck is this? You’re spending how much time?’” says Tretick. But she’s now in charge of registration for the show. “It’s nice sleeping with the registration queen,” he says. —Amanda Hess
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