5 New York exhibitions that honor Stonewall’s legacy
This June will be a month of celebration in New York, as the city ushers in the sixth edition of WorldPride. The timing is especially powerful because 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the historic Stonewall uprising, the precursor to the contemporary pride parade as we know it.
In the early hours of June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village. Rebelling against decades of persecution, patrons fought back, sparking six days of protests and demonstrations.
This moment is wildly considered the catalyst for the modern gay liberation movement in the United States, and in 2016, Stonewall became the first US monument to LGBT rights.
Across New York, museums and galleries are commemorating the Stonewall uprising with thoughtful exhibitions that contextualize the event and explore its far-reaching legacy. Here are five to put on your radar.
The New York Public Library (NYPL) has mined its formidable LGBT archive to provide historical context for the city’s gay rights movement. The exhibition is anchored by images from photojournalists Kay Tobin Lahusen and Diana Davies taken during the 1960s and ’70s, which are deemed “among the great queer treasures of the New York Public Library” in the accompanying catalog.
The library has planned a variety of public activities, including talks, tours and screenings, to encourage engagement within the community and continue the conversation.
Ongoing until July 13, 2019
Titled after a quote from transgender activist Marsha P. Johnson, “Nobody Promised You Tomorrow” looks at how 28 artists born after 1969 have engaged with the Stonewall uprising and the politics that surrounded it in their own work — from both celebratory and critical perspectives.
Many of the works on view explore issues that are as urgent now as they were at the time of the uprisings, such as homelessness, gentrification and violence against trans women of color, drawing clear lines between the past and our present.
Ongoing until Dec. 8, 2019
The New-York Historical Society is commemorating Stonewall with not one, but two exhibitions filled with books, photos, posters, garments and more. “Letting Loose and Fighting Back: LGBTQ Nightlife Before and After Stonewall” looks at the critical role that bars, clubs and other spaces have played in queer community-building and political organizing, from the 1950s onward; and “By the Force of Our Presence: Highlights from the Lesbian Herstory Archives” celebrates the oft-neglected work of queer women in the sphere of LGBT activism.
To top it off, the installation “Say It Loud, Out and Proud: Fifty Years of Pride” looks at the evolution of Pride in New York.
Ongoing until Sept. 22, 2019
Since it first opened in 1987, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art has sought to share and preserve LGBT stories. This season, curator Jonathan Weinberg, in collaboration with Tyler Cann and Drew Sawyer, is using “Art After Stonewall” tell the complex story of how the gay rights movement changed the art world.
With more than 150 works of art from renowned openly gay artists like David Hockney, Robert Mapplethorpe and Catherine Opie — as well as straight artists like Diane Arbus and Lynda Benglis, who engaged with LGBT subcultures in their practices — this is a must-see exhibition for art buffs and historians alike.
Ongoing until July 21, 2019
For 50 years, Fred W. McDarrah captured counterculture movements for New York’s legendary Village Voice newspaper, where he was hired as a staff photographer in the mid-1950s. So, it’s no surprise that he was covering the gay rights movement, photographing key organizers, protests and marches.
Notably, he was on the ground at the Stonewall Inn the night police raids sparked protests, and captured the drama as it unfolded.
June 6 – Dec. 31, 2019