“I felt that blush in my chest as we talked stupid talk never quite revealing our queerness to each other but somehow wordlessly generating volumes of desire like some kind of sublanguage that makes you want to splash into it even with all its tensions.”
― David Wojnarowicz, The Waterfront Journals
A BLUSH IN A CHEST
You wouldn’t know it from most history books, but Brooklyn’s queer history is just as rich and colorful as Manhattan’s. But perhaps because it was working class, Brooklyn hasn’t always gotten the same respect. Until now.
For the Pop-Up Museum’s “On the (Queer) Waterfront” exhibit, artist and historian Sarah G. Sharp took to Google Maps to create an interactive digital tour of some of Brooklyn’s most potent queer historical sites — from the WWII lesbian ship yards and the cruising grounds of Vinegar Hill to the place where Leaves of Grass was printed, and where ACT UP demonstrators closed the Brooklyn Bridge. If you thought New York gay history was all Stonewall and Broadway, it’s time to take a stroll.
View A Blush in the Chest: Queer Poets, Workers, Radical and Freaks in a larger map
Sharp hopes to open the map to contributors, not just to mark the headline grabbing stories or protests and poets, but the “soft histories” of the way gay life was lived by private citizens.
(You might also want to pair it with The Impalpable Sustenance, a 40 minute “audio excursion” in and around the Brooklyn Promenade created by Teamworks Unlimited.)
We hope that the map— like this spring’s Google Map of the Lost Gay Bars of San Francisco — will inspire others to begin mapping their own neighborhoods, so this crucial history won’t be lost.
ABOUT SARAH G. SHARP
Sarah G. Sharp is an artist with a research-based practice whose interests include alternative social histories, language, place, intuitive processes and craft. She is the recipient of a Getty Library Research Grant and a BRIC Arts Media Fellowship. Exhibitions include The Aldrich Museum, CT, The Hampden Gallery at UMass Amherst, Frederieke Taylor Gallery and Stephan Stoyanov Gallery, NY. Sarah is the co-founder of Cohort artist’s collective. She holds an MFA and an MA from Purchase College and is faculty in the Art Practice MFA Program at School of Visual Arts in New York. Sarah lives and works in Brooklyn. www.sarahgsharp.net.