featured gallery for September 2015

Party Out Of Bounds Expanded

While working on Party Out Of Bounds: Nightlife As Activism Since 1980—the Visual AIDS exhibition opening at La MaMa Galleria on September 18, 2015— we became aware that the intersection of nightlife and the ongoing HIV/AIDS pandemic presented a curatorial challenge: attempting to fit the vast topic into the borders of a gallery space. Party Out Of Bounds Expanded, the Visual AIDS September web gallery, gives us an opportunity to widen the scope of the exhibition through an online platform. Works selected from the Visual AIDS Artist+ Registry highlight Artist Member’s works that will not be in LaMaMa Galleria, yet powerfully contribute to the rich multigenerational conversation about the importance and legacy of nightlife both past and present.

Since the beginning of the AIDS pandemic, nightlife has been an escape, a community, a forum for information about safer sex practices and a center for activism. Taking its title from a B-52’s song, both Party Out Of Bounds: Nightlife As Activism Since 1980 and Party Out Of Bounds Expanded showcase the transformative possibilities of nightlife as an alternative form of activism.

On view at LaMaMa Galleria from September 18 through October 10, Party Out Of Bounds: Nightlife As Activism Since 1980 features an exhibition catalogue with two essays that reflect the dialogue raised by the above images in our September Web Gallery.

Excerpt from Emily Colucci’s "Can’t Stop Dancing" catalog essay:

“Reflecting Douglas Crimp’s evocation of these lost locations of sexual pleasure, Party Out Of Bounds: Nightlife As Activism Since 1980 not only remembers the artists, performers, musicians, drag queens, ball performers, activists, club owners and patrons who died due to complications from AIDS; Along with honoring the memory of those who passed, as well as the continued survival of people living with HIV and AIDS, Party Out Of Bounds also sees bars and clubs as essential in the ongoing HIV/AIDS pandemic as spaces for education, activism, community-building, escape and sexual fluidity, navigating various sexual/gender identities and serostatuses.

Whether swiftly shut down by the New York City Department of Health during the height of the panic surrounding transmission or disappearing due to slower yet no less violent gentrification, as shown in Sarah Schulman’s Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination, shuttered bars and clubs riddle the visual landscape of the exhibition. Like the backrooms and bathhouses conjured by Crimp, these late-night hotspots also deserve to be mourned as significant losses sustained as a result of HIV/AIDS.”

Excerpt from Osman Can Yerebakan's "Because The Night" catalog essay:

“When the music stops and the lights are back on, a deserted dance floor awaits, holding onto moments resisting to fade away. Within walls of blazing hues and fog surrounding every leaping torso, those, who otherwise wouldn‘t cross paths, come together as who, how or what loses its value. The party ends early for many, before the eyes of those that remain to witness this vanishing. Today, those who departed are remembered through what they left behind: a quartet, a play or a painting–some were celebrated and recognized and some slowly evanesced first from streets and later from memories. Today in 2015, a resolute thread weaving into decades of struggle and activism vocalizes countless strong narratives of the ongoing HIV/AIDS crisis, not letting memories dissolve or names to disappear. Whilst bright gleams of disco balls tingle their eyes and pulsing rhythm beats their ears, those who yearn to speak out do not abandon the dance floor as there is no better place to raise your voice.”