Liberate the Bar! Queer Nightlife, Activism, and Spacemaking

June 28, 2019 – October 20, 2019

Opening Reception: Friday, June 28, 2019 | 5:00–8:00 PM

ONE Gallery, West Hollywood
626 N. Robertson Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA 90069

Gallery Hours
Thursday through Sunday: 11:00am–2:00pm & 3:00pm–6:00pm
Closed Monday – Wednesday

Liberate the Bar! Queer Nightlife, Activism, and Spacemaking is a multimedia exhibition that sheds light on the intricate relationship between nightlife, activism, and creative expression across space and time. The exhibition is not a historical overview, but instead presents clusters of archival materials such as newspapers, photographs, flyers, and videos alongside works by contemporary artists to meditate on past and present struggles and triumphs of queer life.

From Cooper Do-nuts and the Black Cat Tavern in Los Angeles to the Stonewall Inn in New York City, incidents at venues across the United States have served as catalysts for LGBTQ protest and activism, while simultaneously facilitating the demand and need for liberated space. Set to open on the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, the exhibition affirms the significant and underrecognized contributions of queer, transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming artists and activists to contemporary society.

Thematic areas include: early LGBTQ activist histories in Los Angeles; national dialogues and the rise of Gay Liberation; the history, legacy, and mythmaking of Stonewall; trans and femme policing, brutalization, and death; LGBTQ nightlife culture and underground spaces; and queer contemporary art and activism today.

The exhibition’s title, Liberate the Bar!, references protester shouts from the Stonewall Riots, while also gesturing towards the potential of nightlife venues to promote feelings of freedom, safety, and celebration. Key attention will be paid to artists, activists, and venues that call Los Angeles home, both historical and contemporary, and whose influences extend throughout the city and beyond.

This exhibition is organized by the ONE Archives Foundation, Inc. in collaboration with the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives at USC Libraries, and is guest curated by Paulina Lara and Joseph Daniel Valencia.

Generous support is provided by the City of West Hollywood.

The ONE Archives Foundation, Inc. is an independent 501(c)(3) dedicated to telling the accurate and authentic stories of LGBTQ people, history and culture through public exhibitions, educational projects and trainings, and community outreach programs. Founded in 1952 the ONE Archives Foundation, Inc. is the oldest continuously operating LGBTQ organization in the United States. Today, the ONE Archives Foundation preserves and presents LGBTQ history, art, and culture in collaboration with ONE Archivesat the USC Libraries.

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