Philly Artblog shares the best of 2023 with this Top 5 list of favorite themes, artists, and exhibitions.
Artblog is an independent online art magazine that documents and celebrates the work of local artists, particularly from marginalized communities. They’re also one of our partners through WHYY’s N.I.C.E. program, and this year we’ve enjoyed featuring their articles on some of the city’s most exciting art shows and events. 2023 was an extra-special year for Artblog — their 20th anniversary! 🥂🥳🎉
This December, we asked co-founder Roberta Fallon to share her favorite and/or most memorable topics that Artblog has covered in 2023. Her Top Five list here is a wild ride, from eye-opening museums to virtual spaces that’ll blow your mind. There’s snark and sass and featureless heads in silhouette.
And the best part? Roberta updated every item in her list with how we can still check out all this incredible art! Click on the links for each original Artblog review plus all the info you need to plan your Local art expedition. 👀
Artblog’s 2023 Highlights
- The Wrong: An international art roundup that includes a Digital Arts Pavilion with at least one Philly artist in it, Clayton Campbell (who also writes for Artblog). The Wrong is a free experience that’s quite unique: in order to view the art, you adopt one of the avatars available when you log in, and interact with others as you walk, jump, and hop about the virtual space, which is filled with all kinds of dazzling art displays. Just like going to a gallery, but not.
- Socialist Grocery: This original comic skewers the staff and clientele of a fictional <ahem> left-leaning national grocery chain. The main character, Sebastian, is a bike-riding, artist/gig worker navigating young adulthood with dry, philosophical bemusement. Follow Socialist Grocery on Artblog, where it’s been a popular feature since 2017. And follow artist Oli Knowles @fruityfishing (where you’ll find more great art to enjoy along with local community efforts to support)
- Bitch/Saint: At 89-years old, Philadelphia artist Anne Minich had a lot to say in her latest solo exhibition at Commonweal Gallery this October. She said it with striking depictions of faceless silhouettes, many carefully carved, painted, and adorned with materials sourced from the streets and beaches she’s walked these past 50 years. Are the figures coming or going? Shadowed in darkness or missing from the scene altogether? In his review, Artblog’s Lane Speidel likened Minich’s show to the antithesis of a portrait gallery, and appreciated her subversive twist on religious iconography. While Bitch/Saint has closed, Minich continues to create, speak, and engage audiences. Follow her in 2024: @anne.minich and anneminich.com.
- Rising Sun: This show is a triumph! Twenty Black artists attempt to answer the question: “Is the sun rising or setting on American democracy now?” This collaborative exhibit, “Rising Sun: Artists in an Uncertain America” was co-curated and co-produced by Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the African American Museum in Philadelphia. It’s a rare occurrence when two museums can organize one show between them where each space elevates and amplifies each other’s art. Slated to close in October, this one-of-a-kind exhibition has been extended by public demand. Rising Sun will now be on display at PAFA through December 31st 2023, and at AAMP through March 3, 2024, with special surprises in the works for Black History Month. BEFORE YOU GO: check out Emily Schilling’s review so you won’t miss a thing.
- AI Art: Artists love nothing better than a new tool to mess with, so this year AI art was everywhere! Four Artblog writers — all of them artists — wrote deeply and passionately about AI this year: how they love it, how they hate it, what they think it will do to art, and why that might matter. No one knows exactly where AI is taking us, so now’s a great time to explore it from creative angles:
- Dereck Mangus praises what he calls the disruptive technology and opines that we can tame AI for the future.
- Ruth Wolf compares AI with previous disruptor movements such as Futurism, Dada, and Pop. But is AI a tool or its own aesthetic?
- Lane Speidel exposes how AI can be exploitative, and also explores its many limitations
- Clayton Campbell’s review of an AI exhibition at Chimaera shares a lot of the incredible original artwork featured in this local gallery (including the mesmerizing youtube video below).
🎟️ BONUS: NOW OPEN THRU MARCH 18 — Ever wonder “What happens if the machines take over?” 🤔🤖🌎
This mind-blowing exhibition “Data Nation: Democracy in the Age of AI” at National Liberty Museum features immersive installations that examine how technology affects daily life, and how these rapid advances can disrupt democratic norms/values. 🤯
National Liberty Museum
321 Chestnut St (Old City)
Open Thurs – Mon (10am – 5pm)