Celebrate Queer Black history at The Kitchen in Chelsea from now through March 6th with Sadie Barnette’s reimagination of Eagle Creek Saloon—San Francisco’s first Black-owned gay bar.
Produced in collaboration with the Studio Museum in Harlem, the installation makes way for the East Coast’s first “institutional presentation” of this historical space.
The original saloon was first opened and operated from 1990–1993 by the artist’s father, Rodney Barnette, founder of the Compton Black Panther Party chapter. The bar offered a social safe space for marginalized individuals of the multiracial queer community in San Francisco.
At the installation, visitors can step into this shiny pink bar decorated with glittering books, bar stools, and a glowing “Eagle Creek” neon sign. Everyone is encouraged to experience the exhibition through touch and sound as a changing audio component elevates the installation.
“This has been a dream since forever. Since “the before.” Since gathering had new meaning… but our gathering was always fraught, and fought for, and fabulous, a real fantasy,” shared artist Barnette to Instagram.
According to a study done by professor of sociology Greggor Mattson in 2019, LGBTQ+ bars had been declining across the nation from 2007 to 2019, “with a disparate impact on those serving female-identified people and people of color.” The New Eagle Creek Saloon revives the establishment’s significant history in Chelsea, a neighborhood “where this legacy has been so instrumental to avant-garde art and performance,” shared The Kitchen’s website.
The installation strategically comes at a time when Madison Moore is presenting The Kitchen’s first-ever nightlife and club residency. Both activations “gesture toward the ongoing endurance of queer histories and hold space for the somatic archives of disappeared or lost queer space over time.” Throughout the duration of Moore’s Nightlife-in-Residence, DJ sets can be caught across four Saturdays that began with Shaun J. Wright on January 22nd.
Find out more at The Kitchen’s website here and to read about their other exhibition on view, In Support.
Where: 512 West 19th Street, New York
When: Now – March 6, 2022