The 2017 Liberta Awards!
Just for you, we offer this annual curated list of notable people, groups, books, and other art world stuff from the outgoing year: The 2017 Liberta Awards!

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2017 will go down in history as the year that misogyny got slapped upside the head. We hope the revelations, scorn, and sanctions against sexual harassment and assault perpetrators will help change the climate that has long made women and gender non-conforming people second class citizens and prey for those in power. On a personal note, as a women-founded, woman-run publication whose mission is to grow and cultivate a diverse set of writers to cover the fullest, most representative world of art making by all makers, Artblog salutes the people who stand up to power.

Wiki Feminist Editathon

B-I-G award

The Association for Public Art goes big and wins the love of the public with its temporary art projects in 2017. First, it was the monumental “Big Bling” by Martin Puryear on the banks of the Schuylkill River; next, it was the very big “Fireflies” by Cai Guo-Qiang on the Parkway; and now it is the huge snow globes by “Winter Fountains” by Jennifer Steinkamp, also on the Parkway!

B-I-G award – 2

Village of Arts and Humanities receives $500,000 Artplace America award for their Civic Power Studio, then follows up the same week with a $50,000 grant from the Barra Foundation!

Broken Instruments Make Us Cry and Sound Amazing award

Symphony for a Broken Orchestra by David Lang, a project of the genius, Rob Blackson, Director of Temple Contemporary.

Photograph by Tom Gralish, and courtesy of philly.com. With a viola missing its strings, bridge, neck, and scroll, Esther Moon, 20, a junior public health major at Drexel University, stands with her fellow musicians at the end of the premier of the Symphony for Broken Orchestra by Pulitzer-Prize winning composer David Lang.
Photograph by Tom Gralish, and courtesy of philly.com. With a viola missing its strings, bridge, neck, and scroll, Esther Moon, 20, a junior public health major at Drexel University, stands with her fellow musicians at the end of the premier of the Symphony for Broken Orchestra by Pulitzer-Prize winning composer David Lang.

DEAR PHILADELPHIA, LIGHTEN UP ON YOUR HISTORY OBSESSION AWARD

“Historical landscape” kerfuffle over a proposed James Turrell Skyspace that looks like “a UFO on stilts” in back of the PMA. The Art Commission and the Architectural Committee already approved the proposal. Call it Area T215 and make it a thing.

Forward Momentum award – Four-way tie

  • Sachs Program for Arts Innovation at UPenn appoints John McInerney as their first Executive Director! Grant program for students and faculty to be rolled out Spring, 2018.
  • Philadelphia Contemporary hires Creative Time’s Nato Thompson as Artistic Director. We look forward to BIG things from the guy with the BIG reputation from the BIG apple.
  • Cerulean Arts Collective brings new paradigm to artist gallery representation. Tina Rocha and Michael Kowbuz take over and retrofit the building next door and create a beautiful big blue-ceilinged space, and give artists hope that there is a way forward in the dwindling Philadelphia art market.
  • Lincoln University/Barnes Foundation launches joint Museum Studies Program with Blake Bradford at its helm. With the program’s intent of training and promoting people of color in the museum world, where traditionally only 4% of leaders are people of color, we say Yes! It’s about time.
Leaps of Faith and Other Mistakes at The Painted Bride Art Center
Photo by Daniel Kontz. Ben Grinberg, Nicole Burgio, Adam Kerbel, and Nick Gilette performing in Leaps of Faith and Other Mistakes.

Best Call for Empathy award

Matt Kalasky, our comrade in arms, co-founder of the New Art Writing Challenge, and frequent Artblog contributor had some very good words that we should all try to adopt.

Most Colorful Cast of Characters in a Comic Strip award

Socialist Grocery by Oli Knowles.

Best Conversation We Couldn’t Get Tickets To award

Ava DuVernay and Maori Holmes at Blackstar Film Festival.

Slow-cooked projects award – Three-way tie

  • Philadelphia Assembled, the massive community project, three years in the making, opened in September at the PMA Perelman Building. Closed Dec. 9, the project rallied grass roots activists and artists and embedded them in the museum, hoping to grow a garden.
  • Monument Lab the brainchild of UPenn Fine Arts’ Chair, Ken Lum, and Paul Farber, Managing Director of the Penn Program in the Environmental Humanities, the temporary monuments created a lot of buzz and made one of our favorite things to do to walk around the city.
  • 19th Century black civil rights leader Octavius V. Catto gets a dignified, beautiful and moving civic monument on the south apron of City Hall.

Kudos, Artists

Michelle Angela Ortiz named Citizen Artist Fellow by The Kennedy Center and a Rauschenberg Artist Activist Fellow – Congratulations to one busy community-spirited artist!

Jesse Krimes named Rauschenberg Artist Activist Fellow – Congratulations, Jesse!

Zoe Strauss awarded 2017 Guggenheim Fellowship in photography- Congratulations to one of our favorite artists!

Pepón Osorio receives 2017 Pennsylvania Governor’s award, The Distinguished Arts Award, which honors a Pennsylvania artist of international renown.

Kelsey Halliday Johnson becomes new Executive Director at SPACE Gallery, Portland, Maine! Kelsey is a friend of Artblog and was previously a Curatorial Fellow in Photography and New Media at the James A. Michener Art Museum and a member of Vox Populi Gallery.

reform mixed media pepon osorio
Pepón Osorio. Mixed-media dolls of the school district of Philadelphia’s leadership, those responsible for the closure of the Fairhill School. Depicted left to right are: Chief of Student Support Services Karyn T. Lynch, Chief Information Officer Melanie S. Harris, General Counsel Michael A. Davis, and former Chief of Academic Supports Officer Donyall Dickey

Best moves by Philadelphia Art Schools – Tie

  • Tyler School of Art appoints Roberto Lugo — an amazing human and ground-breaking ceramist — to its faculty.
  • Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts will add digital photography to its curriculum.

BEST NEW ARTIST RESIDENCIES

African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP) announces New Residency for Art and Social Change

Camden Shipyard and Maritime Museum announces Waterfront South Artist Residency

Icebox Project Space takes advantage of their unique multi-media projection system system by launching a new Video Residency Program.

Author! Author! BEST Books by Philadelphians

Paul Cava’s book, “The Children of Adam” looks beautiful! More here.

Judith Stein’s “Eye of the Sixties” is now out in paperback! Woohoo, congratulations! You should buy a copy and read it.

Jamar Nicholas’s graphic novel, “Leon, Protector of the Playground” is published in hard back and paperback! Order a copy here.

Nathaniel Popkin, Pete Woodall, and Joseph E.B. Elliott’s Philadelphia: Finding the Hidden City is a gorgeous book filled with photographs, and history and analysis of the psyche of our fair city. Buy one and support Hidden City!

Metropolitan Opera House, North Broad Street, 2009 Photograph by Joseph E. B. Elliott.
Metropolitan Opera House, North Broad Street, 2009 Photograph by Joseph E. B. Elliott.

Comings and Goings

Dejay Duckett takes over at AAMP as the new Director of Curatorial Services. Duckett moves to AAMP after 15 years at the Arthur Ross Gallery.

James Merle Thomas moves on from being Vox Populi’s Executive Director to pursue other curatorial projects.

Susan E. Cahan takes over as Dean of Tyler School of Art. Cahan was formerly associate dean and dean for the arts at Yale University’s undergraduate college.

Gee Wesley moves to Brooklyn to become Program Director of Recess.

Sylvie Patry, Barnes Foundation deputy director for collections & exhibitions and Gund Family Chief Curator decamps back to Paris to the D’Orsay museum from whence she came. She will continue to work as a consulting curator with Barnes on a catalog raisonne of Cezanne works in the collection.

Samantha Mitchell, Lindsay Buchman, Kaitlin Pomerantz, Meredith Sellers, Bailey Sheehan, Natalie T. McGarvey revive and restructure Title Magazine and bring it to new life!

Kelli Morgan, the first recipient of The Winston & Carolyn Lowe Curatorial Fellowship for Diversity in the Fine Arts at PAFA is moving onto Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields as the Weisenberger Fellow of American Art, and will become Associate Curator of American Art when the position becomes available July 1 for the 2018/2019 fiscal year. Exit interview coming soon to Artblog!

Marianne Bernstein, independent curator of Due South, Due North and many public art projects in Philadelphia, moves to Chicago, where we anticipate new projects by her in the Windy City.

Carol Zou joins Asian Arts Initiative in the newly created role of Program Director. Welcome!

Markings

Artist Box contents for Do Ho Suh, Paratrooper II, 2005. Monofilament, resin, nylon, poly organza, stainless steel armature. Collection of The Fabric Workshop and Museum. Photo: Carlos Avendaño.
Artist Box contents for Do Ho Suh, Paratrooper II, 2005. Monofilament, resin, nylon, poly organza, stainless steel armature. Collection of The Fabric Workshop and Museum. Photo: Carlos Avendaño.

Street Road turns 5.

Little Berlin turns 10

Vivant Art Collection turns 10.

Dumpster Divers Collective turns 25.

Muse Gallery turns 40.

Fleisher Wind Challenge turns 40.

FWM turns 40.

Brandywine Workshop and Archives re-opens its gallery.

Spillway Collective opens in Crane Arts.

Reciprocity Collective opens with pop ups.

Philadelphia Art Alliance merges with University of the Arts, which will take over and administer the space and programs in the historical building.

Painted Bride announces it will sell building and become nomadic in 2018.

iMPeRFeCT gallery moves to 5539 Germantown Avenue.

Tiger Strikes Asteroid moves from the 319 N. 11th St. building to Crane Arts.

The 319 N. 11th building closes in June and re-opens in December. All but one of the arts collectives return to the space.

Artblog Markings

Oli Knowles’s new comic, Socialist Grocery debuts in November.

Beth Heinly’s The 3:00 Book passes the 200th edition of the weekly comic on Artblog.

Imani Roach joins Artblog as Managing Editor, writing amazing content and reaching out to new writers and artists for podcasts.

Maddie Hewitt takes over as Sponsorship Coordinator and Content Manager for Artblog in February.

Carlos Roa and Mona Washington write a play; and that play is published on Artblog, our first-ever (may there be more, please)!

New Art Writing Challenge completes its third year, unearthing more great writers in the community!

Pew Wish List

Taji Nahl
Teresa Cervantes
Beth Heinly
Michelle Marcuse
Nick Lenker
Pap Souleye Fall
Yixuan Pan

MacArthur Fellows (Genius) Wish List (NEW!)

Rob Blackson
Camae Ayewa & Rasheedah Phillips

Passings

Barkley Hendricks, 72
James Rosenquist, 83
John Berger, 90
Lesley Mitchell
Linda Nochlin, 86
Magdalena Abakanowicz, 86
Marjorie Grigonis, 77
Tim Rollins, 62
Trisha Brown, 80
Vito Acconci, 77

CORRECTION: Previously this post said the Village of Arts and Humanities received a $50,000 grant from the William Penn Foundation in the same week they received the $500,000 Artplace America award. That was a mistake. The $50,000 grant the same week as the Artplace America award was from the Barra Foundation. We regret the error.

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liberta awards 2017

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