Remember the Upstairs Lounge
447 W 16th St , NY NY 10011
A New Orleans bar is coming to New York but with a difference. This bar doesn't serve alcohol. And the regulars are long gone. The bar is the Upstairs Lounge, a bohemian French Quarter bar that was destroyed decades ago in a mysterious fire whose story has a surprising power.
On a warm summer night in 1973, a popular gay bar in the French Quarter burned down with everyone inside, killing 32 people and injuring dozens more. It was the worst fire in New Orleans history. For such a shocking event, it is (perhaps not surprisingly) little known. Police knew it was arson but could never find hard evidence and the main suspect was never charged as most of the witnesses would not speak to the police – a strange reformulation of silence =death, but understandable given the hostility of the force to the gay community. All but one church refused to hold memorial services for the victims. And a city famed for its open attitude was content to look the other way. The story was allowed to fade from memory.
No Longer Empty has invited Dan Cameron to recreate this important work in NYC. Together we are proud to present Skylar Fein's installation, Remember the Upstairs Lounge, which walks visitors right through the swinging bar doors. The show throws a stark light on a hidden chapter of history and offers visual riffs on politics and sexuality circa 1973.
The show also has a few surprises, including an artifact from the fire -- one that has been zealously guarded by a survivor for over 35 years -- and crime scene photos that are so graphic they have never been shown before. Despite the tough material, it's a show made for a general audience, and became a local phenomenon when it was shown in 2008 in New Orleans itself.
Manon Slome, Dan Cameron
Collaborators of Programming
Johnathan Ferrara Gallery and the Skylar Fein´s supporters
Related events and programs
- April 25, 2010 - Artist Talk by Skylar Fein
- May 13, 2010 - Discussion "Intersections: Social Issues in Contemporary Art"
April 27, 2010 - May 29, 2010
Wed - Sun 12pm-7pm