2012 was a year of birthdays in the Philadelphia art world — Slought turned ten. Pentimenti and Gallery Joe turn twenty (Hey, wait for us, artblog turns ten in 2013!). It was the first year of the international fiber festival, Fiber Philadelphia, which was a rousing success with its many exhibits, lectures and events all over town. Also a rousing success, Philly’s own Review Panel, organized by artcritical’s David Cohen, and hosted by PAFA. In other news, we’re sad to see the daddy of all internet art magazines, artnet, closed and become an archive. And artcat, the great, opinionated NYC listings site run by Friend of artblog, Barry Hoggard, closing Dec. 31, also becoming an archive. artblog welcomed more writers to our team, and this year we polled our team to ask for help handing out the Liberta awards! Finally, as 2012 leaves us all washed in the sadness of Newtown, CT, we at artblog wish you peace, love and happiness, and lots and lots of art in the new year.
THE 2012 Liberta Awards
Philly Museum of Art Gets Vernacular Award
Move over Bristol Palin, PMA is Dancing with the Bride. Well, really they’re Dancing Around the Bride, but close enough.
Confidence Woman Award
Bridgette Mayer, who opened her newer, bigger, better Bridgette Mayer Gallery during the recession and added a couple more great Philadelphia artists to her gallery roster!
The This Way Award
The Museum of Everything at The Chalet Society.
Just so you don’t miss the ins and outs of this massive exhibition of outsider art: The Museum of Everything‘s great big red arrows, all hand painted and wonderful. At The Chalet Society. — awarded by Matthew Rose
The Absolutely Insane Art Project Award
Max Mulhern for his Aqua Dice. In this art project about chance, John Cage is alive and well, taking a chance, with the Atlantic rolling the dice.
artblog Stalking Victims
(In true stalker fashion we focused on one person this year)
Celestine Wilson Hughes
Best Name for a gallery
The Space That was Recently Extra Extra. We kid you not.
1524 Frankford Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19125
What’s in a Name Award
Jong Kyu Kim becomes Dave Kim becomes Dave Kyu. Whatever, dude, we love you all!
We Can’t Believe You Turned the Best Art Ever Into Background for a Dance Party Award
MoMA, for The Clock—Silent Disco, Thursday, December 20, 2012, 9:30 PM–12:30 AM
Featuring DJ sets by John Stanier of Battles and special guests
Biggest Scam Ever Award
Damien Hirst’s polka dot paintings, debuted at all 11 Gagosian Galleries around the world.
2012 Art Trend #1
Yarnbombing. Jesse Hemmons, a.k.a. Ishknits, the official yarnbomber of the PMA, is also the unofficial yarnbomber of the Rizzo statue at the Municipal Building.
2012 Art Trend #2
Car shows! Ed Kienholz did it first in the 1960s, but we like the idea of cars in galleries and this year we’ve seen three car shows: The Pickup Truck Expo at the Icebox; Tyler Held’s car imprisoned at Eastern State Penitentiary; and Hunter Stabler’s survival vehicle at Pageant.
Comings and Goings or who’s in, who’s out
IN-Amy Sadao/ OUT-Claudia Gould @ICA
IN-Teresa Jaynes/OUT-Matthew Braun @Fleisher
IN-Brian Wallace @Bryn Mawr
IN-Alex Baker OUT Amy Adams @Fleisher-Ollman Gallery
OUT-Julien Robson @PAFA
IN Cecilia Fitzgibbon OUT Happy Fernandez @Moore College of Art and Design
IN Dave Kyu OUT Theresa Rose @OACCE (Office of Arts Culture and the Creative Economy)
IN Jose Ortiz OUT Dave Kyu @Fleisher Art Memorial
IN and OUT Matthew Palczynski @Woodmere
IN and OUT Butch Cordora is the new owner @Ven and Vaida in Old City
GONE Extra Extra, Frankford Ave.
GONE Part Time Studios, Frankford Ave.
OPENED Imperfect Gallery, Germantown
OPENED Fjord, Frankford Ave.
GONE Knapp Gallery, Old City
OPENED ML Gallery and Arch Enemy, Old City
GONE Slingluff, Kensington
GONE Possible Projects
GONE Philadelphia Arts Hotel, Fishtown/Kensington, closed til 2014
GONE Carbon 14–The gallery has more half-lives than its name sake. We still love it and hope it returns.
OPENED Practice, Chinatown North
Now We Are Six Award
The Vox Building, with six galleries — Vox Populi, Grizzly Grizzly, Marginal Utility, Tiger Strikes Asteroid, Napoleon and Practice — has critical mass to keep you indoors all First Friday! Can we make it 7? How about 8?
Stairway to the Art Stars Award
The Vox Building stairwell! Lets hear it for the beer bottle-littered, smoky, dark, dank, narrow and creaky space that takes us up and never lets us down.
Shortest-lived Conspiracy Theory
The Dox Thrash mural gets painted out and much umbrage ensues. Some thought it was art criticism, some thought it was a racist crank. But it was only a HUD contractor, and Mural Arts will get it repainted.
The Rolling Stones Gather No Moss Award
The Ardmore Cairn. This rock pile on a vacant lot at the corner of Lancaster Ave and Ardmore Ave in Ardmore gets stacked and knocked down regularly. It’s all guerrilla action, much of it done by day, and a lot more by night. There are lots of participants, and we think Richard Long would approve. See video.
Welcome to Philly Award
Isidro Blasco buys a house on Tulip Street and invites artists to do installations in it even before he has moved in. The show knocked our socks off. Glad to have this new energy and talent in town.
The Elevator Award
The short-lived Shaft installation gallery in an elevator at the Vox building got the shaft by annoying the neighbors.
The Philly Believe It or Not Award
Philadelphia’s first rooted-tree carving project — on a dying tree in a public park — was completed four days before Hurricane Sandy hit, and it survived the storm! Check out “Get to Know the Locals,” a totem poll by Roger Wing, in Campbell Square, Port Richmond. — awarded by Ben Meyer
The Emperor’s New Fruit Award
Somebody tries to palm off brussels sprouts as yummy fruits. It’s gotta be conceptual art. — awarded by Cate Fallon
Gaining Critical Mass Award #1
Suddenly there are so many shows at the Philly Museum of Art and Pennsylvania Academy that feature artists of color and women that to list them here would take too much space! As for the galleries and alternative spaces, we’d love to see more varied humanity represented.
Gaining critical mass Award #2
NALAC Conference – National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures comes to town, brings beaucoup people with it and spawns some great exhibits, like the one at Leeway. — awarded by Jennifer Zarro
They Said It Couldn’t Be Done Award
The visionaries at the new Barnes, including the forward thinking funders, for a spectacular act of imagination that even now hasn’t silenced the kvetches clinging to a bankrupt past in Merion and to a film, you know the one we mean, as if it told the truth.
Risky Business Award
To the Redevelopment Authority for underwriting the Commotion Festival, a 6-month festival uniting art and peeps in the Grays Ferry Neighborhood.
Everything That’s Wrong With Art Writing Award
Benjamin H.D. Buchloh in his “The Chance Ornament. Aphorisms on Gerhard Richter’s Abstractions” from the February, 2012, issue of Artforum.
After all, there is no longer any guarantee that what had started with the emphasis on removing the hand from the pictorial process in order to have painting compete with the industrial readymade would not inevitably lead to the technocratically ordered assimilation of the body to the rules of a spectacularized technological universe or to painting’s wholesale fusion with the abstracted rationality of the global digital economy.
– awarded by Matthew Crain (husband of Elizabeth Johnson)
Insanely hard worker, team player and generous spirit Award
Greg Rossi of AUX Performance Space, for service over and above on a tiny salary. He’s leaving this week to spend more time doing community organizing work. — awarded by Becky Hunter
Warm Figleaf Award
Villanova University, for warming their cold feet by canceling gay performance artist Tim Miller‘s performance on the campus. Fallout from the clergy sex scandal or what?
The Thank You Award!
The artblog team, without whose help we couldn’t make it happen! Thanks to our board members and all of our supporters (we count you on our team!) and to our writers, tech helpers and everybody who contributes to artblog!