Pictured: "Court Upholds Gay Bars", ONE magazine, vol. 7, no. 3, 1959. Courtesy of ONE Archives at USC Libraries.
Organized thematically into four sections — Police Raids and Resistance, Contemporary Activism, Los Angeles Nightlife, and Contemporary Art Meditations — the exhibition sought 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.
ONE Gallery, West Hollywood
626 N. Robertson Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90069
Exhibition running through October 20, 2019
Black Cat demonstrations, Silverlake, Los Angeles, 1967. Photographer unknown. Courtesy of ONE Archives at USC Libraries.
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,
Los Angeles Queer Resistance (LAQR), Fred W. McDarrah, Mario Sandoval, and Judy Ornelas Sisneros.
Group gathering at Stonewall Inn, New York City, 1969. Photograph by Fred W. McDarrah. Courtesy of the ONE Archives at USC Libraries. © Estate of Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images.
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.
Stonewall Inn, 1969. Photograph by Diana Davies. Courtesy of New York Public Libraries Manuscript and Archives Division.
Group photograph at Stonewall Inn, New York City (1969): This photograph by Fred W. McDarrah documents a group of young people gathering in the aftermath of the Stonewall Riots, New York City, 1969. © Estate of Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images.
Mario Sandoval Photographic Archive (c. 1999-2010): Sandoval’s brilliant images document the patrons, performers, staff, and event staging/signage for Arena Nightclub and Circus Disco, Hollywood. Courtesy of Mario Sandoval.
Bryatt Bryant Photographic Archive (c. 2012-2014): Bryant’s photographs showcase Mustache Mondays at its various iterations across the city, including La Cita Bar and The Lash. Courtesy of Bryatt Bryant.
Nostra Fiesta (2019): An installation and mural project by Rafa Esparza and Gabriela Ruiz, Nostra Fiesta pays homage to the New Jalisco Bar in Downtown Los Angeles, a venue that has primarily served a gay, Latinx, and working-class clientele. The gallery installation replicates portions of the bar’s iconic interior, while the storefront mural injects explicitly queer iconography, figures, and histories into the public sphere. Courtesy of the artists.
Gay rights activists at City Hall rally for gay rights: Sylvia Ray Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, Barbara Deming, and Kady Vandeurs, 1973. Photograph by Diana Davies. Courtesy of New York Public Libraries Manuscript and Archives Division.
"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 the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives at USC Libraries with supplemental loans from the New York Public Library Manuscripts and Archives Division. The exhibition also features commissioned artworks by Los Angeles-based contemporary artists.