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Liberate the Bar! Queer Nightlife, Activism, and Spacemaking


  • One Gallery West Hollywood 626 North Robertson Boulevard West Hollywood, CA, 90069 United States (map)

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

Open 6/28-10/20

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.

Earlier Event: June 26
“LA: A Queer History” screening
Later Event: June 29
ALAP Pride Playreading Festival