Sep 18, 2015
Oct 10, 2015

La Galleria: Nightlife As Activism Since 1980

a black arrow pointing downward

Activism in Nightlife Since 1980 sponsored by Visual AIDS focuses on the intersection of the ongoing HIV/AIDS crisis and nightlife from the 1980s to the 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, Party Out Of Bounds showcases the transformative possibilities of nightlife as an alternative form of activism.

Featuring 29 artists and collaborators working in a wide variety of mediums including photography, video, painting, sculpture, drawing and site-specific installations, Party Out Of Bounds presents both past and present nightlife scenes from Nelson Sullivan’s video documentation of late performers Ethyl Eichelberger and John Sex, to Jessica Whitbread’s No Pants No Problem Party, an underwear dance party exploring social gathering as a space of advocating for HIV and sexual/gender rights and combatting stigma. The exhibition also highlights archival materials including event flyers by artists Keith Haring and David Wojnarowicz, as well as ephemera from clubs such as MEAT and the Clit Club that merged activism, art, performance and parties.

By creating intergenerational connections between artists such as Peter Hujar,Kia Labeija, John Waters, Wu Tsang and Chloe Dzubilo, Party Out Of Boundsarticulates the continual importance and influence of nightlife on different generations. Not only a celebration, the exhibition also acknowledges the losses due to HIV/AIDS whether artists, performers, nightlife participants or the closure of these event spaces themselves.

Opening Reception: September 18, 2015 6PM-9PM


Sponsored by Visual Aids

Friday, September 18; 10:30pm-4:00am

No Pants No Problem (NPNP) is a curatorial arts project, based in social relationships, and direct action, as a means to challenge binaries in gender and sexuality, phobias of all sorts, and constrictive inner and outer dialogues about bodies and desire. Created by Visual AIDS Artist Member Jessica Whitbread, and set in the context of an underwear dance party, NPNP is an opportunity for open engagement, and time based, social performances.

Thursday, September 24; 6:00pm-8:00pm

In This House: AIDS, Art and Activism in the Vogue Ball Scene features artists Luna Luis Ortiz, Milton Ninja Garcia, Kia LaBeija and Elegance Bratton, moderated by Martez Smith, discussing the development of their creative practice as well as the ball scene as a context for a range of activist pursuits with regards to HIV/AIDS. As a site for “entertainment, empowerment, and elation for many young men and women of color coming into their own in New York City” and beyond, the ballroom community also represents a unique, on-the-ground community for HIV/AIDS outreach and activism.

Wednesday, September 30; 10:30am-11:30am

Party Out of Bounds & Fashion Underground: Guided Tour & Discussion discusses the overlapping connections of art, fashion and activism in NYC nightlife of the 1980’s. The tour will begin with Fashion Underground: The World of Susanne Bartsch at the Fashion Institute of Technology at 10:30 am.  Organized by Dr. Valerie Steele, Fashion Underground explores the creative links between Bartsch’s 30 years of sartorial self-expression and its influence on the global fashion scene.  Susanne Bartsch has been a highly visible player in New York City nightlife since the 1980s.

Thursday, October 1; 6:00pm-8:00pm

THE HARD CORPS: clubs, sex, activism, bodies panel and community discussion will re-engage the activist/artist-led alternative parties of panelists Julie Tolentino (Clit Club | Tattooed Love Child) and Aldo Hernandez (Meat), moderated by Joshua Lubin-Levy. Panelists will consider the range of affective and activist responses to the intersections of nightlife and community building at the heart of throwing sex-positive parties during the height of the AIDS crisis.

Thursday, October 8; 7:00pm-8:30pm

Linda Simpson: Drag Explosion is a photographic time capsule, spanning the late 1980s to the mid ’90s, of New York City’s drag-queen subculture. All of the photos were shot by longtime drag personality Linda Simpson, back when film ruled and it was the exception to hobnob with a camera.

Saturday, October 10; 4:00pm-5:00pm

Party Out Of Bounds: Curator Talk & Closing Event exhibition co-curators Emily Colucci and Osman Can Yerebakan will lead a guided tour and discussion of the exhibition, discussing the intersection of the ongoing HIV/AIDS crisis and nightlife from the 1980s to the present.

Emily Colucci is a freelance art writer, independent curator and co-founder of Filthy Dreams, a blog looking at art through a queer lens and with a touch of camp.

Osman Can Yerebakan is an independent art writer and curator based in New York. Osman, who holds a BA in Comparative Literature and an MA in Art Management, contributes to various online publications on contemporary art and curates exhibitions around NYC.

Nayland Blake , Elegance Bratton , Genesis Breyer P-Orridge , Luis Carle, Clit Club Archive/Julie Tolentino , Chloe Dzubilo, Scott Ewalt, Robert Getso , Keith Haring, Aldo Hernandez Archive, Peter Hujar, John Walter, Kia Labeija, Marc Lida, Caldwell Linker, Lovett/Codagnone , Charles Lum, Joseph Modica, Hunter Reynolds, Eric Rhein, John Sex, Linda Simpson, Chad States, Nelson Sullivan, Wu Tsang, Conrad Ventur, John Waters, Jessica Whitbread, David Wojnarowicz

Visual AIDS utilizes art to fight AIDS by provoking dialogue, supporting HIV+ artists, and preserving a legacy, because AIDS is not over.

La MaMa Galleria


Founded in 1984, La Galleria is a nonprofit gallery committed to nurturing experimentation in the visual arts. La Galleria encourages an active dialogue between new media, performance, the plastic and visual arts, curatorial projects, and educational initiatives. It serves the East Village community by offering diverse programming to an inter-generational audience, and expanding the parameters of a traditional gallery space. As a non-profit, La Galleria is able to provide artists and curators with unique exhibition opportunities that are largely out of reach in a commercial gallery setting.

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