2018 Liberta Awards!

TaDa! Just for you, our annual curated list of notable people, groups, books, and other art world stuff from the outgoing year: The 2018 Liberta Awards!

"Magritty: The Son of Man" digital image by @FadeResistant
“Magritty: The Son of Man” digital image by @FadeResistant

Like most of you, we tried every day in 2018 not to slip into dark thoughts of looming apocalypse. Our technicolor nightmare was orange, a difficult color to love except in pumpkins and fall foliage. Then, in September, and quite unexpectedly, an angel came on the scene to deliver us from despair into an oasis of equally fiery hue. A second orange monster — more comic than threatening, inscrutable and subversive — came in like a brand new toy to play with. And we needed him like we need the air we breathe. We put our fixations and love on him like our lives depended on it and we are filled with joy, if not hope for a new day coming. Shout out to @FadeResistant, for his deft art history-facing Gritty pictured in this post. We love the subversion of this Gritty-and-art mashup!

Angel of the Year award

Artblog’s 2018 Angel of the Year award is hereby bestowed on Gritty. Thank you, Gritty, for helping us keep eyes forwards and heads up.

Kudos, Artists

One of our favorite artists, Pepon Osorio, receives 2018 Distinguished Artist award for Lifetime Achievement from College Art Association.


Pepon Osorio, Abigail DeVille, Cassils, Cauleen Smith win US Artists awards for 2018.

Grass Roots Political Moves Award

Streets Department’s Conrad Benner provides opportunities for street artists at Mission Taqueria.

Chris Hammes uses his gallery Pilot Projects to raise money for Abolish ICE PHL and camps out with protesters outside of City Hall for multiple days in Abolish ICE protest.


Leeway grantee Shreshth Khilani’s Immigrant Kitchen fosters open dialog about community

Talks we’re kicking ourselves about not seeing

Carrie Mae Weems at Moore College of Art and Design (March 2018).

Hito Steyerl on previous and upcoming work, including the “Actual Reality OS” app
Hosted by Moore College of Art and Design and Philadelphia Contemporary for “Festival for the People Kickoff”


Shows and events we’re panting over and can’t wait to see

EVENT – Running of the Grittys Jan. 12 9 AM – 10 AM, Wells Fargo Center

EXHIBITION – Colored People Time at ICA (Martine Syms, Dave McKinsey, Aria Dean, Kevin Jerome Anderson, curated by Meg Onli) Feb 1-Mar 31, 2019

BOOK – Carmen Maria Machado “In The Dream House: A Memoir” set to come out in October, 2019-
“She is the Writer in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania and lives in Philadelphia with her wife.”

PERFORMANCE INSTALLATION – Killjoy’s Castle at Icebox Project Space, Halloween, 2019

Yalla Punk’s pop up exhibit in January, 2019 at Vox Populi. Mysterious what it will be but we’re jazzed.

Fingers Crossed Award

After 20 years at 1026 Arch St., Space 1026 gets booted from their 2-story warren. But the collective stays together searches for a building to buy and must move out in May, 2019.

Author! Author! BEST Books by Philadelphians

Dave and Ilyssa Kyu, Campfire Stories
Raquel Salas Rivera (Philadelphia’s 2018-2019 Poet Laureate), Lo Terciario/ The Tertiary

Comings and Goings

Maori Karmael Holmes (ICA Director of Public Engagement) moves to sunny California as Executive Director of Ava Duvernay’s Array Alliance.

New Director of Public Engagement at ICA is James E. Brit (from Chicago).

Former Philadelphia Poet Laureate, Yolana Wisher, appointed Curator of Spoken Word at Philadelphia Contemporary.

Danny Orendorff appointed Director of Vox Populi Gallery.

Anne Ishii appointed Executive Director at Asian Arts Initiative.

Jennifer Martin appointed Executive Director at The Clay Studio.

Brittany Webb moves from African American Museum in Philadelphia to Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts as Curatorial Assistant on the James Roden project.

John Caperton, Curator at the Print Center, becomes University of Pennsylvania School of Design Director of Communications.

Marina McDougall Vella appointed founding Executive Director of Philadelphia Art Alliance at University of the Arts.


PHL Art at the Airport turns 20
Fjord turns 6
Leeway Foundation turns 25
Off the Wall Gallery at Dirty Franks turns 40
Vox Populi turns 30
Good Good Comedy turns 3
Radiator Press debuts, a Philadelphia publisher for poetry.
New Boon(e) closes.

Other Notable Goings On

Sachs Arts Innovation Program announces inaugural round of grants — $123,000 — to University of Pennsylvania artists, staff and faculty for work with Philadelphia artists and communities.

PAFA continues collecting great contemporary art — buys and installs Hank Willis Thomas’s Afro Pick.

LG Tripp gallery (closed in 2015) pops up at 319 N. 11th St. with solo show of paintings by Jon Manteau.

Cruxspace moves to WeWork at the Piazza.

Jerry’s on Front, new music and art project space opens in Kensington.

Blue Stoop, literary hub in Philadelphia launches.

High Five Gallery opens near Spring Garden St.

Caldera Magazine opens online and in print to share the voices of artists and creatives of POC and Queer communities .

Till Arts Project opens, promoting safe spaces and resources for LGBTQ community artists.

Pew Wish List

Patricia Thomas
Roberto Lugo
Beth Heinly
Taji Nahl

Sparky 19125 and 19122 Zipcodes light up North Philly arts award

The Common Room (1509 N. Front), Balm Studio (2056 E. Huntingdon) Amalgam Comics and Coffee House (2578 Frankford), Tessera Arts Collective (2568 Frankford))

MacArthur Fellows (Genius) Wish List

Roberto Lugo
Robert Blackson


AM Weaver
George Shinn
Robert Venturi
Paula Winokur
Vinson Houston
Willis “Nomo” Humphrey
Susan Fenton
Victoria Donohoe
Helen Shannon

Artblog Markings

Artblog turns 15! Here’s to the next 15 years and don’t forget it’s giving season. Our 2018 Annual Appeal is live! See the SUPPORT PAGE to find out how to contribute. (You already know why!)
Artblog Completes 4th Annual Art Writing Contest
Artblog gets archived by UPenn Fisher Fine Arts Library archive!
Artblog launches Ask Artblog advice column with Dave Kyu and Beth Heinly penning the advice
Artblog adds to its writing team: Carl(os) Roa, Janyce Denise Glasper, Logan Cryer, Jessica Rizzo, Olivia Jia, Mark Lord, Sarah Kim, Levi Bentley, Sydney Cox, Deborah Krieger
Artblog’s Sponsorship and Content Coordinator, Maddie Hewitt, moves on and Morgan Nitz takes over.

René Magritte was a Belgian Surrealist artist, famous for his spooky interpretations of houses, apples, and men in bowler hats (including in one case, an apple hovering in front of the face, as in his 1964 “Son of Man” painting).

FadeResistant is a contemporary Philadelphia artist known for his popular and feline-focused Instagram feed @FadeResistant. His “Magritty: The Son of Man” is a digital image created in 2018.