Best Gallery Or Museum In Pennsylvania: PhilaMOCA / 2020 American Art Awards

Thom Bierdz
4 min readJul 19, 2020


For 12 years, American Art Awards has decided the 25 Best Galleries and Museums in America. Among the criteria: years in business, industry reputation, online activity, location, size, exhibits, educational programs, represented artists and references from artists, clients and visitors. Each year only one gallery or museum per state in 25 states is selected.

American Art Awards: “Housed in the historic 1865 Finney & Son building, a former showroom for mausoleums, PhilaMOCA is a multipurpose art space that proudly showcases the best in underground, alternative, and DIY culture in 300+ events a year. American Art Awards selects PhilaMOCA which continually accumulates national and international acclaim for its unique approach towards art curation as our Best Gallery or Museum in Pennsylvania, 2020, and one of our Top 25 American Galleries and Museums for 2020.”

Philadelphia Magazine: “Best of Philly award-winner.”

Huffington Post: “21 Ways Philadelphia is the Coolest City in America.”

Time Out: “20 Best Things To Do in Philadelphia.”

The Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art (PhilaMOCA) is the hot spot for live performances, workshops, band performances, film screenings, and art exhibits.


Finney & Son was a three-generation, Philadelphia-based tombstone and mausoleum business that was located at 531 N. 12th Street from the early 1900s through the 1960s. The building lay vacant until the 1980s when it was briefly inhabited by a sculptor from a local art college. Local music producer/DJ Diplo purchased the building in the mid-00’s and used it as the headquarters of his Mad Decent record label and the original home of the Mad Decent Block Party. A Wikipedia summary of those years: “Since its inception, The Mausoleum has become the home to recordings by artists like Christina Aguilera, Shakira, M.I.A., Santigold, Spank Rock, Plastic Little, Blaqstarr, Paper Route Gangstaz, and hosted concerts by Glass Candy, Skream, Boys Noize, Nicos Gun, and more.”

In 2010, Diplo relocated to the west coast and rented the building to Gavin Hecker who established PhilaMOCA in September of that year to immediate acclaim. Gavin relocated to NYC in 2012 and current Director/Curator Eric Bresler took over the reigns of PhilaMOCA in March of that year.

PhilaMOCA’s notable annual events include Eraserhood Forever, a yearly celebration of David Lynch and his relationship with Philadelphia (past performers have included the actual Lady in the Radiator from Eraserhead and Xiu Xiu covering the Twin Peaks soundtrack), and the Cinedelphia Film Festival, a two-and-a-half week celebration of alternative/underground film and pop culture.

In September 2019, PhilaMOCA was closed by L&I for zoning and fire safety issues (the fire safety issues were resolved in a day and quickly cleared from the violation list). PhilaMOCA was granted the correct zoning in January 2020.

UPCOMING EVENTS: Please contact the venue for the latest info.


Web Site:

Address: 531 N. 12th Street / Philadelphia, PA 19123
Phone: 267–519–9651

VIDEO: annually awards 25 museums and galleries in spring, and with their critique in autumn, awards 300 artists (painters, photographers, sculptors and digital artists).




Thom Bierdz

One of Medium’s TOP ART CONTRIBUTORS, award-winning author, actor, film-maker, painter. 12 books: 6 on art. President of WAA & AAA & ACCA.