Posts tagged with "LGBT":

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Monument to LGBTQI community to open this June in Hudson River Park

A monument to the LGBTQI community is expected to be completed this June along Hudson River Park. The anticipated unveiling coincides with Pride month, which celebrates the 1969 Stonewall uprising that took place just half a mile away. The monument, designed by Brooklyn-based artist Anthony Goicolea, is an arrangement of nine boulders that have been incised with glass prisms that display the rainbow when lit. The project was in part spurred on by the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando that left 49 dead which motivated Governor Andrew Cuomo to appoint an LGBT Memorial Commission. While a celebration of the present queer community, the monument’s site is also a testament to LGBTQI history near both the thriving gayborhood of the West Village and the West Side Piers, which in New York’s history served as a gay meeting (and cruising) ground. It is also not far from the 2016 New York City AIDS Memorial, which is dedicated to the over 100,000 New Yorkers who have died from AIDS-related illnesses and the many who acted as caregivers during the crisis and who continue to fight as activists. The monument is designed to be a meeting ground that both blends in with the environment yet maintains a distinct character. As Goicolea told The New York Times last year when the project was announced, “I wanted to communicate with the river and the piers. I really want it to be part of the area.” For Goicolea, the boulders act not as the memorial itself, but, as reported in Urban Omnibus, as “pedestals for the true memorial, which is the people that are sitting there”
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Architecture is a sexual practice at the Cruising Pavilion in Venice

The weekend before I left for Venice, I caught the eye of a guy on the street near my apartment in Brooklyn. After we passed each other, we turned around to check each other out. It wasn’t until I got home minutes later, and logged onto one of my geo-social “dating” apps, that I received a confirmation of our interaction: “What were you looking at, boy?” typed the same guy on his phone, now 700 feet away from my house. This encounter collapses two different modes of cruising, the historically perambulatory practice of searching for sexual encounters, which, in the digital age, is shifting more and more to mobile devices. The variant practices and habits of cruising form the subject of the Cruising Pavilion, an off-site group exhibition curated by Pierre-Alexandre Mateos, Rasmus Myrup, Octave Perrault, and Charles Teyssou held during the vernissage of the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale. Cruising is a covert act that takes place in plain sight. Cues like locked eyes, a turnaround glance, winks, gropes, all signify consent to approach one another. Its signals formed in reaction to bourgeois fears that homosexuals openly forging social connections would upend normative gender relations and, thus the reproductive order. Public restrooms and parks, historically and to this day, are examples of cruising sites: arenas charged with intrigue and hormones. Cruising Pavilion’s curators contend, however, that the parameters of these spaces are evolving due to the advent of apps like Grindr, which use mobile devices to map sexual partners by proximity. At the same time, cities like Berlin have become destinations for sex tourism where clubs and bars recreate the cruising experience in “dark rooms” or bath houses designed with labyrinths and other programmatic devices intended to provoke drifting, encounter, and niches for physical activity. Frequent cruisers shape their physical environment to encourage interaction and to evade persecution. In this way, the story of cruising space is one of persistence, something that the works in the show touch on through the artists’ and architects’ range of interpretation and representation. The Cruising Pavilion curators designed their exhibition space as a dark room to sexually frame the works on display–a tactic that is sometimes successful, but in others, doesn’t facilitate more erotically nuanced reads of conventionally presented works, especially in absence of wall text. But to over-explain and force a singular narrative would hush the pluralistic modes of sexual communication that this exhibition celebrates. It’s a jolting counterpoint to the official Biennale program, curated by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of Grafton Architects, whose chosen theme, Freespace, came with a manifesto that omits sex altogether. The Cruising Pavilion is located in Giudecca, a southwestern spit of land known for Il Redentore, Palladio’s 16th-century Catholic church. Some 100 yards away is a less well-known site: the Garden of Eden, named after Frederic Eden, an Englishman who founded it in 1884. By the early 1900s, it had become Venice’s premier cruising grounds, frequented by the likes of Jean Genet. It’s now in private hands and serves as a progenitor to the Cruising Pavilion, located along the same shoreline in a double-height warehouse. It takes a while for your eyes to adjust when you walk into the space from the unsympathetic Venetian sun: it’s pitch black—save for low-lit red light bulbs, a nod to the lighting design often used in dark rooms. The exhibition opens with a wheat-pasted sign reproduced from the defunct New York BDSM club Mineshaft, open from the mid ‘70s to ‘80s. This dress code was posted on the club’s door alerting patrons to the rules to follow when inside: No cologne, no suits, no ties, and no dress pants, among other maxims. Even the Cruising Pavilion’s original font is derived from scrawls in cedar planks in the West Side Club, a former New York sauna, a gentle nod to past sites of cruising. The curators made full use of the leftover Icelandic pavilion from a past biennale. Luckily, it fits with their theme. Two giant towers – each two stories and made from standard issue lumber – rise from floor to ceiling. Narrow stairs take viewers up and down different platforms where work is on display. The tight turning radius to transfer from stair to platform reminded me of one of the devices used in dark room labyrinths to generate encounter between patrons. In one such instance, I was confronted by Ian Wooldridge’s readymade sculptures. Square, tubular brackets made mostly of steel rise from the floor like little automatons. They’re braces used to anchor urinals in drywall, but formally, and under the glow of the red light, they read like sex dungeon infrastructure. Each is tricked out with a cross-brace to support a suspended metal ring used to guide pipe conduit. Located waist high, the rings suggest other potential functions. Speaking of holes, Andreas Angelikdakis presents what could be considered an IKEA of dark room design. His sculpture Cruising Labyrinth, is a sheet of ¾” plywood painted black with a simple glory-hole cut out. Takeaway instruction sheets advertise “Every hole has a goal!” so one can make and install their own dark room configurations. Sex is more difficult to read in works that, at first, seem like pin-ups of simple architectural plans. Etienne Descloux’s drawings, DR01 – DR07, could be mistaken for banal axonometric studies of small pavilions, but he drew these dark room studies as portraits of his friends with whom he collaborated–a gesture that renders the client-architect relationship more intimate and erotic. Another axonometric diagram for a speculative bathhouse to accommodate gender-neutral patrons called S H U Í, accompanies a video used to pitch it to investors. The video subverts the derivative hetero-normative narrative common in advertising for luxury condos, in which straight, white couples gaze out from their new 40th-floor balcony at the city below. S H U Í Bathhouse User 1: Ylang Ylang, by Jon Wang and Sean Roland, instead, presents a gender non-specific Geisha wandering a city at night and into/out of staged wellness environments. It’s a bit of a myth that Grindr and other dating apps are the first technologically disruptive forces for cruising. Emergent technologies have been creatively co-opted for sexual functions for years. These “hacks” and innovations are evident in the show, if not explicitly stated. A vintage French Minitel machine is installed in Cruising Pavilion’s entry in an incoherent timeline of cruising communications. France’s telephone modem-driven computer device launched in the 1980s was the site of gay chat rooms and two-way communication. Diller Scofidio + Renfro offer a conceptual predecessor to GPS-driven cruising in their Blur & Blush book printed to document their Blur building, a pavilion in the 2002 Swiss EXPO cloaked in a mass of fog. The “Blush” portion of the project was never realized, but the architects proposed that visitors wear coats outfitted with electronic lighting and vibrating sensors that responded, algorithmically, to the proximity of others who had given similar answers to a questionnaire. The architects thus engineer connection between strangers in an obscured environment not unlike cruising grounds. Andrés Jaque’s Intimate Strangers documentary picks up the torch and traces the rise of Grindr from its early days in 2009 as “Near Buddy Finder” to its present platform where users have splintered into hyper-specific “tribes” of interest and identity in an app now crowded with advertising. Visitors can watch it on a laptop on an inflatable mattress, one more nod to the raw interior spaces of dark rooms. Nearby, Prem Sahib and Mark Blower document similar spaces in a series of photographs of Chariots, a London gay bathhouse that was closed and demolished to make way for a 30-storey luxury hotel, a common tale in rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods like the city’s newly tony Shoreditch neighborhood. It turns out that both the digital space of Grindr and the urban spaces of historically queer neighborhoods are both becoming highly commercialized, perhaps at the expense of a community who can no longer afford, but will always find, its freespace. Aestheticizing the cruising experience, as the curators have done with their dark room-inspired installation, risks a similar commodification. But Cruising Pavilion’s mirage-like appearance at this year’s Biennale would have had less public visibility under white fluorescent lights, and its presence filled a void at the official exhibition that, surprisingly, lacked explorations of queer space. Where the project drifts next is unclear, but let’s hope it brings more people into the dark.
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Orlando approves permanent Pulse nightclub memorial

The Orlando, Florida city council has unanimously approved a permanent memorial to the victims of the June 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting. The just-approved labyrinthine memorial builds on a design in Colonialtown Square Park that was already in-progress at the time of the massacre. Forty-nine pavers, one for each of the victims, will coalesce around a shattered heart that shares a rainbow color palette with the #OrlandoUnited symbol. Plans on file with the city list local firm KZF Design (also known as KMF Architects) as the architect. Installation will be complete by next week, and the city plans to hold a dedication on December 20. In October, city officials approved benches, a fence, and new landscaping on Pulse's property, the first step towards another permanent commemoration. Pulse owner Barbara Poma's onePULSE Foundation is behind that project.
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Orlando is installing a temporary memorial at the Pulse nightclub

On June 12, 2016, 49 lives were lost on Latinx night at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida when gunman Omar Mateen targeted LGBT club-goers out for a night of dancing. Now, the city and a private foundation are making steps toward honoring them in a public memorial. This Monday, plans for an interim memorial were approved at Orlando's town hall meeting. The plans are spearheaded by the onePULSE Foundation, a nonprofit incorporated by the owners of Pulse to honor the victims of the shooting and provide support to survivors and the families of the deceased. The Foundation has created a fund to support scholarships in each of the victims' names. They are also planning a museum that will showcase the narratives of those affected as well as a permanent memorial for the site. The temporary memorial is meant to make the site more welcoming while the Foundation develops the permanent memorial. The approved measures include a rainbow-painted crosswalk, illuminated benches, a new fence painted with murals, landscaping features on the otherwise concrete curbside, and areas for reflection and walking around the site, which has been closed off to the public for over a year now. https://twitter.com/eric_adelson/status/918084055417151488 The City has already completed the crosswalk painting portion of the memorial on Esther Street leading up to the nightclub, much like the rainbow flag being permanently installed today in front of New York's Stonewall National Monument as an homage to early LGBT and HIV/AIDS activists. Both installations have been timed to coincide with National Coming Out Day, held yearly on October 11. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer praised the plan for the temporary memorial, which he said would be "much more friendly ... to the public that are coming there." Since the shooting, the site has attracted visitors from around the world who pay their respects to the souls lost that night, leaving behind flowers, balloons, photographs, advocacy posters, and other personal tributes. At the Orlando town hall meeting, a panel of experts also discussed the site's eventual fate. One panelist, the vice president of New York's National September 11th Memorial, argued that some or all of the original structure should be kept intact rather than demolished, preserving the survivors' and families' connection to the space where their loved ones experienced their last moments. At the meeting, an audience member remarked on the lack of diversity of the all-white panel, which she felt was not representative of the community most impacted by the tragic event, which was largely Latinx, Black, and queer. "There were nine black, African-American," the audience member continued. "There were single mothers, low-wage workers … you have to be inclusive.”
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World’s first museum of queer art debuts new Soho gallery space

Yesterday the world's first museum of queer art celebrated the opening of its inaugural exhibition in a newly expanded space. The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, founded thirty years ago in Soho, has spread out from its longtime storefront space on Wooster Street into an adjacent property. Inside, visitors are greeted by Expanded Visions: Fifty Years of Collecting, staged in a bright and airy gallery designed by architect Steven Keith. As the title suggests, Expanded Visions digs into the Leslie-Lohman archives to showcase work by and for queer people, many of them New Yorkers. The 250 sculptures, paintings, and photographs on display are drawn from 30,000 works in the permanent collection that span over 500 years of history. Museum founders Charles Leslie and Fritz Lohman (1922-2009) have spent more than a half-century collecting art that reflects the LGBT experience; their efforts and networks helped preserve work that would have otherwise been lost to history. New acquisitions will both represent lesbian and trans artists and honor the founders' collecting interest in works that depict gay male life.

Expanded Visions, said executive director Gonzalo Casals, is meant to be both a mirror and a window. "If you're queer, we hope you see yourself represented in this work," he said."If you're not, this is a window to understand the other—to create empathy to empower and inspire."

Pieces by well-known artists like Robert Mapplethorpe and Andy Warhol are displayed near Grey James and Cathy Cade to celebrate queer identity and tell stories about censorship, the HIV/AIDS crisis, beauty, body image, and queer social spaces that sustain community. Although much of the work on view is from the 20th century, and depicts familiar New York moments and places, the exhibition is a survey featuring work from artists as far back as the 19th and 18th centuries. Movable beveled paneled walls in standard-issue gallery white open up a room that, due to a bisecting row of cast iron columns, could otherwise feel too crowded.

The Leslie-Lohman Museum commissioned Keith, who's based in New York, to realize an expansion that includes new staff offices, storage space, and a gift shop. The larger space will be an asset to its mission: The museum's small size, explained former interim director Meryl A. Allison, would force it to close during installation and de-installation, but the 2,300 square feet of new space allows the museum to welcome visitors even as shows change over. Keith's work, which started in October 2016 and finished last week, increased Leslie-Lohman's total footprint to 5,600 square feet. The new space, at 26 Wooster Street in Manhattan, officially opens tomorrow, March 10. More information about exhibitions, programming, and hours of operation can be found here.
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America’s first transgender historic district planned for San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood

A recently struck agreement between Group I—the developer for a Handel Architects-designed mixed-use housing and hotel project in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood called 950 Market Street—and TLGB activists will soon yield the country’s first transgender cultural historic district. The new Compton’s Cafeteria Transgender, Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual (TLGB) District is being crafted as a result of neighborhood opposition to the project, originally designed by Bjarke Ingels Group, that aims to bring apartments and a hotel to the heart of the city’s historic TLGB enclave. A deal struck between activists, the developer, and San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim would utilize $300,000 paid by the developer to establish the cultural district the area in order to preserve the architectural and social legacy of the neighborhood’s many gay bars, several of which are being demolished in conjunction with the new project. The fund is to be administered by the San Francisco Mayor's Office of Economic and Workforce Development and will support local business and nonprofit organizations that serve transgender people in the district. The district is named for Gene Compton’s Cafeteria, the site of a two-day riot in 1966, an event that predates the Stonewall Riots in New York City by two years and is considered as the first major transgender protest in the United States. President Barack Obama elevated the Stonewall Inn—a gay bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village neighborhood—as a National Monument in 2016, the first such monument for the TLGB community in the country. The district encompasses a collection of roughly ten blocks in the Tenderloin neighborhood along Viki Mar Lane, 6th Street, and Market Street and surrounds an area formerly known as the “meat rack,” a stretch of town friendly to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer populations in the city from the 1950s through the early 1970s that is also home to many historic gay bars. Of these, the Old Crow, Rainbow Tavern, and Silver Rail bars will be torn down to accommodate the development. A two-story structure known as the Dean Building is also being town down. The roots of the district as a cultural site for TLGB populations go back to the Gold Rush era. In a press release touting the first-of-its-kind cultural district, Kim explained the importance the cultural site during a time of newly-restrictive social mores, as an ascendant conservative ideology permeates national political and social discourse, saying, “By creating the Compton’s TLGB District we are honoring this vibrant community built by transgender people, and are sending a message to the world that trans people are welcome here.” Handel Architects’ 12-story complex, with an eye toward the particularities of a neighborhood that is historically home to a collection of specialized communities, including low-income, homeless and under-housed populations, will aim to bring 242 new mixed-income units to the neighborhood. The developers behind the project also aim to work with the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD), the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC), and Tenderloin Housing Clinic (THC) to develop between 60- and 70-units of off-site, deed-restricted affordable housing. The affordable complex, to be located at 180 Jones Street, will make use of a $14.8 million in fees and donations by the developer to come to fruition. When built, it will be operated by MOHCD. The project—articulated as a snaking apartment block decorated with a hexagonally-shaped structural grid populated by large expanses of floor-to-ceiling glass walls—is expected to take about two years to build and will contain, among other programmatic components, a neighborhood non-profit threater. The forthcoming Magic Theater, designed to occupy a 2,000-square-foot retail space at the corner of Turk and Taylor streets, will also contain a locally-owned cafe.
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Brooklyn and the Bronx will host housing developments aimed at LGBT seniors

Two housing developments built for LGBT seniors are in the works in Brooklyn and the Bronx. The Ingersoll Senior Residences and the Crotona Senior Residences will be the first of their kind in New York City. Both buildings will have Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) Centers that will offer support for residents. These buildings will be available to all seniors who meet certain income eligibility requirements. However, as LGBT people are not specifically protected from discrimination under the Fair Housing Act, the Ingersoll and Crotona residences are taking a conscious initiative to be inclusive. Philadelphia and other cities have already set up housing developments for LGBT seniors. SAGE started the National LGBT Elder Housing Initiative in 2014; the organization cites a study that found almost half of elder same-sex couples experienced some kind of discriminatory treatment when looking for housing in senior living facilities. SAGE has also worked to create Innovative Senior Centers across the city, with locations in the Bronx, Harlem, Staten Island (in collaboration with the Pride Center of Staten Island) Chelsea, and Brooklyn (with GRIOT Circle), according to Real Estate Weekly. The Ingersoll Senior Residences in Fort Greene will the biggest LGBT-welcoming senior housing community in the country, with 145 affordable housing units. These units are much needed in a neighborhood with a median rent of almost $3,000 a month. Bisnow reports that the project is expected to cost $47 million, and will be designed by Marvel Architects. Crotona Senior Residences will be located in Crotona Park North in the Bronx. Magnusson Architecture and Planning will design the building with 82 units and an expected cost of $38.4 million. SAGE expects to open both residences in summer 2019.
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JGMA wins Chicago Neighborhood Development Award, immediately donates prize money

As part of the 22nd annual Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards (CNDA), Chicago-based JGMA’s El Centro, along with projects from Chicago-based Landon Bone Baker and Gensler, were awarded Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Awards for Excellence in Community Design. Finished in late 2014, El Centro is a 56,000 square foot satellite campus for Northeastern Illinois University, located along I-90/I-94 on the north side of Chicago. JGMA lead Juan Moreno describes the buildings trademark yellow and blue fins as building promotional, psychological, and sustainable. Promotionally, they function as a billboard for the school. Psychologically, they are a point of pride for the student body. And sustainably, they are a one of the buildings sustainability systems as sunshades, along with solar panels and the darkly tinted glass. El Centro was also awarded an AIA Chicago Distinguished Building Honor Award, and the 2015 Chicago Building Congress Award. Juan Moreno’s commitment to the school goes beyond designing their building though. During moving his acceptance speech, Moreno brought the 1500 person crowd to their feet, and many to tears, as he explained his plan for the award money. Addressing Richard Driehaus, “Four years ago I was on this stage for the first time. It was in my firm’s second year of existence, and what you don’t realize Mr. Driehaus is, that in your celebration of architecture, that award money that we received kept our lights on.” Moreno continued, “I’m very much interested in paying it forward. I’d like to announce that the money we receive for this award is going straight to NEIU El Centro to start a scholarship.” Moreno went on to explain the scholarship, which would be in the name of his Colombian immigrant mother, would be used to help minority students, the majority of El Centro’s students, to travel the world. After Moreno left the stage, Richard Driehaus returned to the mic to announce that he would match Moreno’s gift to the school. Landon Bone Baker and Gensler projects were also honored with the 2nd and 3rd place awards. Landon Bone Baker’s South Side Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative was commissioned by Chicago artist and community advocate Theaster Gates. Original a series of separate buildings owned by the Chicago Housing Authority, the donated property now includes market-rate apartments for artist, public housing units, and reduced-rent units for limited income families, and community spaces for dance and music. Gensler’s Town Hall Apartments reuse a former Chicago Police station for affordable senior housing for the LGBT community. The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Awards for Excellence in Community Design is one of eight other awards given out at the CNDAs, which is organized by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC ) Chicago. The CNDAs honor architects, developers, neighborhood advocates and business leaders who work to improve the city’s neighborhoods through restate development. Aside from the Driehaus Design award, other awards are given out for community planning, non-profit real estate projects, affordable rental housing preservation, for-profit real estate projects, and community development organizations. Winners in these other categories included the Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, the Oakley Square affordable housing, and the Method Products’ South Side Soapbox. The Method Products’ South Side Soapbox, a LEED Platinum soap factory which, as Mayor Rahm Emanuel stated in the ceremony’s closing remarks, “ is the first factory to be built on the South Side in 30 years.” The brightly adorned factory derives 50 percent of its energy from solar and wind, and includes the largest rooftop greenhouse in the world. Located near the historic Pullman neighborhood, the project has been touted as a symbol of the rehabilitation of the area, which has been economically depressed since the Pullman Palace Car Company ceased operation in the 1960s.
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Planner Friends of Dorothy: Chicago Launches LGBT Urban Planning Social Group

Chicago’s urban planning history is epic and, therefore, it’s no surprise that the city draws young folks fresh out of school with their MUPs, MPAs, and MPPs in droves (yours truly was one these eight years ago). However, Eavesdrop had no clue how many of them were gay until a couple weeks ago. A young buck, Daniel Ronan—fresh (meat) off the boat from Portland, Oregon—started an LGBT social group for planner and policy folks called Moxie. The inaugural meeting, which took place at Hubbard Inn, was well-attended, including not one, but two AN contributors and Dr. Curtis Winkle, the department head at UIC’s College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs. And some hot guy from our gym whom Eavesdrop didn’t know was a planner—heyyy! The next meetup takes place on Thursday, April 17 at the Vinyl Lounge Chicago. RSVP here.
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Wallace Roberts & Todd Designs Affordable Housing for LGBT Seniors in Philadelphia

A new affordable housing project designed by Wallace Roberts & Todd (WRT) is in the works for Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender (LGBT) seniors in the City of Brotherly Love—it will be the second of its kind in the nation. Hidden Philadelphia reported that construction on this 56-unit complex, called the John C. Anderson Apartments, has already commenced and will be located on 13th Street right in the heart of the Washington Square West neighborhood, a part of Philadelphia that has long been home to a gay and lesbian community. The development is named after city councilman John C. Anderson who was "instrumental in the passage of Philadelphia’s civil rights bill for sexual minority people." Developer Pennrose Properties, along with Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld Fund and Gay News publisher Mark Segal, have spearheaded this $19.5 million development. The project will provide housing for low-income seniors 62 years or older. The six-story building will consist of one-bedroom units, 1,800-square-feet of commercial space, a green courtyard, and a partial green roof.