Trade Secrets

ONE Visits the UK: “Trade Secrets” at the Nottingham Contemporary

March 22, 2013

ONE Archives is excited to announce we have been invited to display materials from the archive at the Nottingham Contemporary in the United Kingdom. Trade Secrets, part of the museum’s series of Small Collection Room exhibitions, marks the first time objects from ONE will be exhibited outside Los Angeles and ONE’s first international collaboration. A 21st century take on a “cabinet of curiosities” or wunderkammer, for the exhibition rare archival objects from ONE will be displayed in four ornate cabinets, dating from the 17th to the 19th centuries.

Organized by ONE’s Curator David Frantz, Trade Secrets presents an wide-ranging display of materials from the archive, including many collections exhibited in recent projects at ONE such as Queers Print and Cruising the Archive. Trade Secrets will include artworks by Sidney Bronstein alongside his personal documents and ephemera, materials related to ONE Magazine, sheet music from the Ralph W. Judd Collection on Cross-Dressing in the Performing Arts, and a selection of DIY queer publications and zines from the 1970s, 80s and 90s. The exhibition opens March 29, 2013 and will be on view through the summer.

The Nottingham Contemporary is one of the largest contemporary art museums in the United Kingdom, located in Nottingham’s historic Lace Market that once serviced the city’s world famous trade in the 19th century. ONE is very enthusiastic about this project. Expect installation photographs of the display soon!


Description of Trade Secrets:

This spring in the Small Collections Room, Nottingham Contemporary is pleased to present a display of rare archival materials from ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives in Los Angeles. Founded in 1952, ONE is the largest collection of its kind in the world and the oldest active LGBTQ organization in the U.S.

The Cabinets will be filled with an eclectic display of materials from the archives. These include artworks and personal papers, some never seen before, by poet and painter Sidney Bronstein (1921– c. 1966). Bronstein worked in Los Angeles in the 1950s and 60s, becoming actively involved in the city’s gay life. He drew and painted portraits of muscle-bound men in uniform who he met while cruising downtown Los Angeles and meticulously recorded information about the encounters with these servicemen in a 1950’s accountants’ ledger. Bronstein compiled this information to aid Dr. Alfred Kinsey’s then controversial studies on human sexual behavior. While given very few opportunities to exhibit, Bronstein continued to paint throughout his life.

Bronstein was also an early volunteer at ONE Magazine, the first widely distributed magazine for homosexuals in the U.S. and a landmark publication recognized internationally by the LGBTQ activist community. For many ONE was the only connection to a wider homosexual community during the repressive McCarthy era in the United States. The publication showcases a wealth of rich material and radical topics from the early gay rights movement with such provocative titles as “Are Homosexuals Reds?” (1953), “Homosexual Marriage?” (1953), “Are Homosexuals Neurotics?” (1955), “The Homosexual Villain” (1955), authored by Norman Mailer, and “Men who Find Lesbians Desirable” (1959).  A selection of publications and zines from the 1970s, 80s and 90s will accompany the display so as to explore the diversity and DIY ethos of radical queer content across multiple generations.

Also on display will be sheet music from the collection of Ralph W. Judd, who collected materials reflecting changing sensibilities toward cross-dressing in the twentieth century. Culled from a collection of over a thousand different scores, the sheet music on view will include songs such as “My Regular Girl is a Regular Feller,” “I Only Want a Buddy…Not a Sweetheart” and “I Want a Girl (Just like the Girl that Married Dear Old Dad).” The display will also include a number of materials related to Julian Eltinge, a well-known female impersonator who performed in American vaudeville performances and was one of the highest paid actors on the stage during the early twentieth century.


Exterior of the Nottingham Contemporary

Exterior of the Nottingham Contemporary.

Small Collections_Nottingham

Previous installation of the Small Collections Room at the Nottingham Contemporary, Wayne Koestenbaum, Hotel Theory, 2009.

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