The 2013 Liberta Awards!

(Dear Folks, In case you haven’t heard, 2013 was the year Artblog turned 10 years old! (See UC review article, article, and Decade of Artblog videos). Besides celebrating our own wonderfulness, we observed, as usual, the wonders of the artworld in Philadelphia. Paris, London, Berlin, Rome and many, many other places. Local highlight this year: The Reading Viaduct project, spearheaded in large part by artist and activist Sarah McEneaney got underway–Yay! The Hidden City Festival delivered amazing art in amazing wrecks of buildings, and CityWide gathered the alternative tribes together for shows, panels, performances and networking. Meanwhile, Artblog got a Tumblr! and Instagram! And Comics! –from Andrew Jeffrey Wright and Beth Heinly! We asked our team again this year to help us round up some of the fun/interesting stuff in the art world. Here with apologies for anything we missed and congratulations to all…)

THE 2013 Liberta Awards

The Golden Navel Gazing award – Artblog!

We hereby give ourselves a Liberta award! We love looking back on ourselves — our blogging, safaris, teaching, talking and working with the best people ever! And we’re continuing to look back as we also look forward to many more years of working for you and with you. Thank you for supporting Artblog and for putting up with our self-absorption!! Thank you, thank you, all!


Off the wall award – Mural Arts Program
MAP turns 30-wow, and with its feast in Municipal Plaza and a host of new projects that don’t involve paint on walls, MAP starts defining itself as a more flexible social practice animal. Yay!

The Albert Barnes would approve award – Tim Belknap and Ryan McCartney

The "Winter Down" bridge and structure inside The Icebox, inside Crane.
The “Winter Down” bridge and structure inside The Icebox, inside Crane.

For Winter Down, a quirky salon style show in a jewel box gallery they constructed inside the Icebox. The building was only accessible via a creaky little bridge. If this is a comment on the new Barnes on the Parkway, we don’t know, but we love the parallels.


Artblog Stalking Victim

(In true stalker fashion, we focused on one object of our affection this year)
The Icebox.  We cannot live without you.

PEW Wishlist
Matt Kalasky (repeat)
Tim Eads
Kay Healy
John Gibbons and Isobel Sollenberger
Mary Smull
Roberto Lugo


Art Trend – Trash, Refuse, Garbage
Garbage World at Little Berlin
Taxonomy of Trash
Language for the Common Landfill  (ok so it was in Dec. 2012, but we’re counting it.)

Wednesday night Workaholics award!

Rob Blackson (Temple Contemporary) and Alex Klein (ICA), for amazing programming and the highest number of Wednesday nights worked in Philly.  — awarded by Becky Huff Hunter

The Anglicizing of Philadelphia award – Ruth Scott Blackson and Becky Huff Hunter
Both Brits got their green cards this year!

Mr. Sticks to his guns award – Ken Johnson

Panel discussion at PAFA on gender and race in the art world.
Panel discussion at PAFA on gender and race in the art world.

The New York Times arts writer, who wrote reviews with questionable underpinnings (the reason art by minorities and women is not shown more is that it’s not as good as what is shown) came to Philly for a packed public forum at PAFA and he didn’t budge from his position except to say he should have chosen his words more carefully. Read Rachel’s post about it.

The best solo exhibit that was a museum show, a group show, and a massive file cabinet of his mind – Matthew Rose

Matthew Rose's wall of Special K's at Converge Gallery
Matthew Rose’s wall of Special K’s at Converge Gallery

For The Letters, his best show ever, at Converge Gallery.  I saw him make many of these works in his Paris studio, and throughly enjoyed his wall of irreverent Special K works featuring the Kellogg’s logo and Rose’s specialized writing: Konstipation, Kollector, Kurator…Mr. Rose is a congenial collagist who has woven the art making process into the fabric of his daily  activities.  His  art is a miracle of paper and glue  to which he applies  a scissor wit to bring us a world of the absurd in a state of flux. — awarded by Max Mulhern

Best assault on the senses with wanton disregard for personal safety award  – Jeff Huckleberry

Jeff Huckleberry- "8th Rainbow" performance shot
Jeff Huckleberry- “8th Rainbow” performance shot

For his “8th Rainbow” performance at the Icebox.  — awarded by Maegan Arthurs

Phoenix award – Philagrafika
Philagrafika comes back and will issue a portfolio this year, and through its Philagrafika Projects is supporting Marianne Bernstein’s Due North project, set to open in the Icebox Jan 9, 2014.

Comings and goings – Galleries
Fleisher-Ollman Gallery, formerly one of the few reasons to visit the 1600 block of Walnut St. moves to Chinatown— to 1216 Arch St. We will follow you anywhere, F-O. And now, the Chinatown area has become a bonafide arts corridor, with the Fabric Workshop and Museum (1214 + 1222 Arch), F-O (1216 Arch), Space 1026 (1026 Arch) and the Vox Building (319 N. 11th).

Highwire Gallery closes after 25 years of monthly arts programming. A real loss to Frankford Ave. and a loss to the art community.

Next Fab moves to Washington Ave and becomes artblog’s tech sponsor! Yay and yay!

Comings and goings – People (and animals)

Macarena, artblog muse, 1996-2013. Meow
Macarena, artblog muse, 1996-2013. Meow

OUT – Gary Steuer @Office of Arts Culture and the Creative Economy
OUT – Teresa Jaynes/ IN – Elizabeth Grimaldi @Fleisher Art Memorial
OUT – Dan Schimmel at Breadboard – IN – Dan Schimmel at STEAMworkPhilly
OUT – artblog favorite, Rob Matthews, moves with his family to Nashville, TN. We are happy he will be having a show at Gallery Joe in 2014!
OUT – artblog favorite Erin Riley, moves to New York. Good luck, Erin! Come back and see us.

IN PASSING – Macarena the artblog cat (1996-2013). We’re meowing our loss daily.

Finally – Thank you to the wonderful artblog team, without whose help we couldn’t make it happen! Thanks to our board members, our advisory committee, our supporters and to our writers, tech helpers and everybody who contributes to artblog!

As 2013 creeps away, we at artblog wish you peace, love and happiness, and lots and lots of art in the new year.