PRIDE at the Fowler: Archiving Gay History

Thu 6/23 • 4PM - 5PM PDT

The Fowler Museum, the UCLA Film & Television Archive, and ONE Archives at USC are proud to co-present a program in honor of Pride, exploring work made by contemporary artist Sadie Barnette and filmmaker Whitney Skauge at the intersection of art, archives and anti-erasure efforts. Recent celebrated projects by Barnette and Skauge feature archival content about the lives of two gay, Black men who actively fought against political oppression and for the safety of their community at the height of the AIDS crisis in the early ’90s. These men are 1992 presidential candidate Terence Alan Smith, a.k.a. Joan Jett Blakk, and Black Panther Party member Rodney Barnette, who established the first Black-owned gay bar in San Francisco. Join us for a screening of The Beauty President (dir. Skauge), a presentation by Barnette, and a panel conversation moderated by the UCLA Film & Television Archive’s K.J. Relth-Miller about the capacity for contemporary art to breathe new life into archival content; how to deal with what’s missing from and the limits of existing archives; and the power of bringing images back to life to undo the lies of history.

Sadie Barnette’s multimedia practice illuminates her own family history as it mirrors a collective history of repression and resistance in the United States. Barnette has a B.F.A. from CalArts and an M.F.A. from UC San Diego. Her work is in permanent collections, including LACMA, Brooklyn Museum, Studio Museum in Harlem and the Guggenheim, as well as a permanent, site-specific commission at the LAX International Airport forthcoming in 2024. She lives and works in Oakland, CA, and is represented by Jessica Silverman.

Faridah Gbadamosi is the Artistic Director of Outfest, one of the only global LGBTQIA+ arts, media, and entertainment organizations whose programs empower artists, communities, and filmmakers to transform the world through their stories. Gbadamosi oversees the year-round artistic vision for the organization’s many programs, including the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project, the only program in the world exclusively dedicated to preserving lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender moving images at risk of becoming lost due to deterioration and neglect.

Alexis Bard Johnson is the Curator at the ONE Archives at the USC Libraries. She oversees the exhibitions and programs at one of the largest repositories of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer materials in the world. Johnson earned her Ph.D. in Art History with a minor in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Stanford University. Before joining ONE, Johnson worked at the Princeton Art Museum, the Whitney Museum, and the Terra Foundation for American Art.

K.J. Relth-Miller has been a film programmer with the UCLA Film & Television Archive since 2016, increasing the visibility of female-identifying filmmakers through public exhibitions of genre-spanning works. A unit of the UCLA Library, the Archive is renowned for its pioneering efforts to rescue, preserve and showcase moving image media. Relth-Miller is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Film/Video at the California Institute of the Arts, where she teaches Film Today, a survey of contemporary films from recent international festivals.

Whitney Skauge is an award-winning filmmaker dedicated to diverse storytelling and representation. They are Vice President of Development at two-time Oscar-nominated Breakwater Studios, dedicated to the craft of the short documentary. Their debut short film, produced by Breakwater Studios, premiered at SXSW in 2020 and was distributed by L.A. Times Short Docs in 2021. Their films act as an extension of social and political activism with hopes of helping audiences understand themselves and the world around them better.

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