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The Return of Liberta–awards for 2009

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December 21, 2009   ·   11 Comments

Liberta takes a meeting with Barack Obama.

2009 is the year artblog had its sixth birthday and graduated to a WordPress design and a real logo and new maps and listings!  Liberta made it to the Miami art fairs this year for the first time.  Loved it, won’t be going back — we’ll take Manhattan. Volta New York is still our favorite art fair.   This also was the year Liberta realized some people hate her. Frankly we don’t give a damn and will carry on as if everybody loved us. Hey we love everybody almost.

Liberta takes a meeting with Barack Obama.

Liberta takes a meeting with Barack Obama.

In other news, Pew changed its M-O for how artists can apply for fellowships.  Much unhappiness was expressed on facebook and in our comments among some disgruntled artists. But keep your eyes on the prize — the Pew money is still there.  On the other hand, PA Council on the Arts canned its grants to artists program due to PA budget cuts — recession era blues.

A Junto at P’unk Ave about art criticism is still stirring up some energy.  Even artblog got a few theoretical posts (more to come in 2010!).

First Friday at 319A N. 11th St.  Music in the hallway, 4th floor

First Friday at 319A N. 11th St. Music in the hallway, 4th floor

In architecture news, 319A N. 11th St. became the new First Friday destination with nine galleries now and room for more!  Gotta love it.  And Philly continues to get respect outside the city limits. Alternatives FluxSpace and Vox Populi in the red-hot X-Initiatives festival in Chelsea; the PMA gets the Golden Lion for Bruce Nauman at the Venice Biennale; and NY Times writers are all over what’s happening here.

The Libertas

Jayson Musson has fun with Obama, in his show at the Last Drop

Jayson Musson has fun with Obama, in his show at the Last Drop

Fun with your presidents award — Tie!!!
Jayson Musson for his Obama-has-superpowers show at Last Drop Coffee Shop and Maira Kalman for her I-love-Abe-Lincoln project at Rosenbach Museum.

Supersize award
books so weighty they beg to be put down — Cezanne and Beyond catalog (9 lb.) and Shape of Things to Come (10 lb.)

Inexplicable Omission Award
New Museum for not including Kalup Linzy in Younger than Jesus

Austin Lee portrait of Shaun Baer, from the My Face in Your Space show at Nexus

Austin Lee portrait of Shaun Baer, from the My Face in Your Space show at Nexus

Risky Business award
Nick Cassway gets out of his comfort zone and networks to create some excellent projects at Nexus — Nexus Radio, My Face in Your Space (props to Austin Lee and if you missed this show eat your heart out) and Supergirl — still time to catch this good one.
–Runner-up–Michael Kalmbach takes a chance on Willmington and transforms its art scene (post coming soon)

Best show we had no expectations for
ICA’s Dance With Camera

James Johnson, solid gold on the wall at Arcadia U's Works on Paper show

James Johnson, solid gold on the wall at Arcadia U's Works on Paper show

Ahead of the Curve Gold Award
We saw a lot of gold in Miami but we saw James Johnson‘s solid gold art manifesto first (Arcadia Works on Paper show).

Best Double Bill Ever Award
MOMA for Pippilotti Rist and Marlene Dumas

The Not Marijuana Potted Plant Award
Chris Golas‘ chewing of dieffenbacchia leaves in his homey karaoke performance at Exclamation raised new awareness of that plant’s possibilities.

John Gibbons and Isobel Sollenberger, from their solo show at Rebekkah Templeton earlier this year

John Gibbons and Isobel Sollenberger, from their solo show at Rebekkah Templeton earlier this year

Pew Wish List
Joe Boruchow (repeat) Chris Davison (repeat), Phil Jackson, Jennie Thwing (repeat), Sarah Stolfa, Martina Johnson-Allen, Bruce Wilhelm, Danielle Bursk, Gabriel Boyce and Preston Link, John Gibbons and Isobel Sollenberger

Dead Tree Media Award
Machete and New Asshole, two print publications on theory launched this year in Philadelphia. They’re occasional publications so they won’t kill that many trees.

Lance Winn and Simone Jones, Knock, Script by Hope Thompson. Made Possible by the Banff Art Center 2007

Lance Winn and Simone Jones, Knock, Script by Hope Thompson. Made Possible by the Banff Art Center 2007

Fast Forward Award
Video break-throughs knock our socks off. Steve Coss‘ animated portrait paintings in Vox V and Lance Winn and Simone Jones, Script by Hope Thompson robotic projections on three walls and the floor at University of Delaware Gallery keep the viewer in motion to keep up with the scenario. The level of interactivity seemed new and excellent.

Meanwhile

Tim Gierschick, with a piece in his solo show at Tiger Strikes Asteroid

Tim Gierschick, with a piece in his solo show at Tiger Strikes Asteroid

Gallery Openings
Little Berlin reinvents itself as an 8-person collective. Slingluff renames itself and relocates to E. Girard. Breadbox was Esther Klein Gallery and moved up the street. All these opened: Grizzly Grizzly, Marginal Utility, Philadelphia Photo Art Center, AHN/VHS, Tiger Strikes Asteroid, Progressive Sharing, Mt. Airy Contemporary, 919 Gallery, 12 Gates…and this just in, Sweatshop in Port Richmond, Part-Time Studios in Frankford. We know there are more–put your name in the comments if we forgot you.

Gallery Closings
Bye Bye to Pifas

Ashley Flynn, installation at Knapp Gallery

Ashley Flynn, installation at Knapp Gallery

Artists to watch
Ashley Flynn, Amir Lyles, Matt Savitsky

R.I.P.
Tom Chimes, Jeanne-Claude (Mrs. Christo), Andrew Wyeth, Philadelphia art critic R. B. Strauss.  Of course Michael Jackson died, too, a huge hole in the pop culture canopy.

A shout-out to our design and tech team
Kelani Edmondson, Beth Heinly, Howie Ross for design; Nick Paparone and Jamie Dillon for logo and branding.  We love you guys!

Also, a shout-out to artblog reviewers who make us look good
Stefan Zebrowski-Rubin, John Vick, Corey Armpriester, Kelani Edmondson, Judith Stein, Lauren Whearty, Elisa Ludwig, Sue Spaid, Brandon Joyce, Debra Miller, Matthew Rose, Michael Andre, Jacob Hellman, K-Fai Steele, Annette Monnier (who also writes the new blog one review a month), Max Mulhern, Jennifer Zarro

Next year’s a whole new ballgame.  See you then!  xo xo Liberta

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11 Responses to “The Return of Liberta–awards for 2009”

  1. Nancy Ewart says:

    Not feeling the Miami love, huh? I had a friend who went and was not impressed. Frankly, I’d rather have Manhattan too.
    And somebody out there doesn’t love you? How utterly tacky!

  2. Mira Shope says:

    This blog grows weary to read. It’s based on a few handpicked artists who are regularly favored and reflect only Roberta and Libby’s tastes. This is not art criticism. It is description of visual work without critical though. Philadelphia has so many artists that will never or have never grace these pages and it feels really unbalanced. No more James Johnson please!
    No more Rob Matthews! These are great people but we know that there are other people out there doing real and interesting work. Stop creating an ‘old boys club’.

  3. roberta says:

    Dear Mira, sorry you’re weary of reading artblog. There are other choices on the internet. Meanwhile, we’re working hard and trying to be as democratic as we can be. Maybe you’d like to pitch us some things to write about? We’re open to that, just ask anyone. A suggestion from you is more helpful than mud slinging and murky charges. Come on.

  4. Mira Shope says:

    Who is the last transgendered or minority artist you covered? I feel like I need to act as your personal watchdog here. It’s just unbalanced, period.

  5. libby says:

    Hi, Mira, once again, please pitch us stories, suggestions. It’s a big art world out there. Of course we love who we love, but we’re open to new ideas.
    There are a number of minority artists and artists who identify as LGBT whom we have covered recently. But we don’t put signs on their art that state this is work by a member of a racial or sexual minority. Not everyone wants that label. We would mention minority status only if it were relevant to the kind of work they do.
    You may be right about specifically transgendered artists practicing in Philadelphia and having shows. Often, since we are only looking at the art and not the people themselves, we don’t know people’s racial or gender identity until they come and talk to us or the info reaches us some other way.
    All that aside, however, we are eager to hear about good work by whomever makes it. And we share your concerns about covering a wide base. As Roberta said, Mira, if you like to write or if you know about something you think we ought to be covering, we would be interested in your pitching us stories we might be missing. This blog is only as good as our readers, who keep us informed and write to us, just as you have.
    If you have story ideas, send an email to both libbyrosof@gmail.com and robertafallon@gmail.com

  6. libby says:

    Hi, Nancy, yes, that sums it up. Thanks for the love.

  7. Stas Mirage says:

    Hallo! You have a great blog! Fresh and inetersting, we are two artists from Saint Petersburg, what do you think about our blog?

  8. Zoe Strauss says:

    Hooray for Ashley Flynn! She’s the greatest!

  9. Zoe Strauss says:

    Also I loved Jayson Musson’s show at Last Drop.

  10. roberta says:

    Hooray is right–and she’s got a new show coming up at Knapp Gallery opening Jan. 8! http://www.knappgallery.com/

  11. Leigh says:

    I just happened to be at The Last Drop the day the Jayson Musson show went up. It brought huge smiles to faces of everyone who walked in.

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