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Installation view of Sadie Barnette: The New Eagle Creek Saloon, the Lab, San Francisco (photo by Robert Divers Herrick)

Oakland-based artist Sadie Barnette often draws on her family history in her work, incorporating personal memories and historical documents into Day-Glo, futuristic installations. Her 2017 exhibition Dear 1968,… engaged with her father’s 500-page FBI surveillance file, which she gained access to through a Freedom of Information request. Rodney Barnette was a founder of the Compton chapter of the Black Panthers in 1968, after which he was put on the COINTELPRO watchlist. Sadie Barnette’s project features several redacted pages of her father’s file, onto which she has intervened with pink rhinestones and spray paint, reclaiming this attempt to discredit her father.

Installation view of Sadie Barnette: The New Eagle Creek Saloon, the Lab, San Francisco (photo by Robert Divers Herrick)

Barnette’s current exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, focuses on the New Eagle Creek Saloon, the first Black-owned gay bar in San Francisco, which Rodney ran from 1990 to 1993. Disenfranchised from mainstream gay bars that catered to a white clientele, the queer POC community found a safe space at the saloon which functioned as a bar, gathering place, and community center. Barnette’s installation reimagines the saloon, not as it looked, but as a glittering utopian monument, rife with potential. This Thursday night, the work will be activated to celebrate the joint birthdays of Sadie and Rodney, who were born on the same day. The evening will feature a talk by the Barnettes, followed by a performance from the Global Street Dance Masquerade, and a celebration soundtracked by DJ Jihaari, where attendees can rekindle the themes of resistance and community that characterized the original New Eagle Creek Saloon.

When: Thursday, October 10, 7–10pm
Where: Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1717 E. 7th Street, Downtown, Los Angeles)

More info at ICA LA

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Matt Stromberg

Matt Stromberg is a freelance visual arts writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to Hyperallergic, he is a frequent contributor to Daily Serving, and Glasstire.