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 consider past and present struggles and triumphs of queer and transgender life.

Set to open on the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the exhibition examines the role of nightlife venues, parties, and other late-night establishments across the United States in serving as catalysts for LGBTQ protest and activism, while simultaneously facilitating the demand and need for liberated space. Organized thematically into four sections—Police Raids and Resistance, Contemporary Activism, Los Angeles Nightlife, and Contemporary Art Meditations—the exhibition seeks to spotlight and affirm the significant and underrecognized contributions of queer and gender-variant artists and activists to contemporary society. The exhibition’s title, Liberate the Bar!,references protester shouts from the Stonewall Riots, while also gesturing towards the potential of nightlife to promote feelings of freedom, safety, and celebration.

Artists and collectives in the exhibition include: Angélica Becerra, Edxi Betts, Bryatt Bryant, Diana Davies, Rafa Esparza and Gabriela Ruiz, Sebastian Hernandez, Dulce Soledad Ibarra, Andrew Jaramillo, Fred W. McDarrah, Los Angeles Queer Resistance (LAQR), Mario Sandoval, and Judy Ornelas Sisneros. Venues and parties represented in the exhibition include: Arena Nightclub, Black Cat Tavern, Cooper’s Do-nuts, Circus Disco, Jewel’s Catch One, Mustache Mondays, Stonewall Inn, Studio One, and the New Jalisco Bar, among others.

Liberate the Bar! Queer Nightlife, Activism, and Spacemaking is guest curated by Paulina Lara and Joseph Daniel Valencia. The exhibition is organized by the ONE Archives Foundation utilizing the unique holdings from ONE Archives at USC Libraries with supplemental loans from the New York Public Library Manuscripts and Archives Division. The exhibition also features commissioned artworks from Los Angeles-based contemporary artists.

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 Archives at the USC Libraries.


Image:  MARIO SANDOVAL, ESCANDALO REVIVAL AT ARENA NIGHTCLUB, HOLLYWOOD, C. 2002. COURTESY OF THE ARTIST.
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