July 17, 2019

Paula Gately Tillman, Nelson Sullivan, 1986Gelatin silver print. Courtesy, Fales Library, NYU

Across the US, commemorative exhibitions and installations continue to consider how the riots that began at the Stonewall Inn in New York’s Greenwich Village fifty years ago affected the entire nation. The Stonewall Riots marked one of the most significant moments in American history, an uprising that galvanized the gay liberation movement. A Look Back: 50 Years After Stonewall is a group exhibition at Fort Gansevoort, in which artists explore love, protest, rebellion, celebration, death and American identity. If you were partying in downtown Manhattan in the 1980s, chances are you’d have encountered Nelson Sullivan and his video camera. The filmmaker was dedicated to documenting the nightlife of New York’s Meatpacking District. Some of the faces (RuPaul, Lady Bunny, Sylvia Miles) in his works on show will be familiar. As Sullivan’s rich archive proves, American history is still being made, stories simultaneously converging and contradicting.