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Alice Austen House Designated National Site of LGBTQ History

Thursday Jun 15, 2017

On Tuesday, June 20 at 11 a.m., there will be a celebration at the Alice Austen House on Staten Island for the formal announcement of the designation of Alice Austen House as a national site of LGBTQ history. Stick around and see their new exhibition, "Call and Response."

The designation marks an important milestone for this historic house in bringing forth the LGBTQ story represented there. Alice Austen House is a nationally landmarked museum devoted to the trailblazing American street photographer Alice Austen (1866-1952). Austen was in a loving and devoted relationship with Gertrude Tate for more than fifty years; nearly 30 of those years were lived together at the Austen family home that serves as the museum.

As part of an initiative of the National Park Service launched in 2014, the Alice Austen House's listing on the National Register of Historic Places has been amended to include LGBTQ history as an area of significance.
The updated amendment was written by Andrew S. Dolkart, Columbia University Professor of Historic Preservation, through the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project and a grant from the New York State Historic Preservation Office made possible by the National Park Service.  

AAH is the 14th site nationally to be designated under this initiative out of more than 92,000 places on the National Register. It is the 4th site in NYC and the first site in NYC and NY State devoted to a woman to receive such a designation.

During the event, photographer and activist Joan E. Biren (JEB) will speak. Biren is an award-winning documentary photographer and filmmaker, and has been chronicling the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals for more than 30 years.

JEB will also present an artist talk the evening of June 20 at the Alice Austen House, including a slide show outlining the historic nature of Alice Austen and lesbian photographers' work, as well as chronicling JEB's own photography.

During your visit, stop and see the new exhibition "Call and Response" opening on June 17. It features six photographers experimenting with collaborative documentary practices. This exhibition brings together the work of six Magnum Foundation Grantees: Endia Beal, Thomas Dworzak, Daniel Castro Garcia, Eric Gyamfi, Omar Imam, and Kameelah Janan Rasheed.

"Call and Response" is presented with the Magnum Foundation as part of worldwide events celebrating Magnum Photos 70th Anniversary.

At a time when the majority of new photography is viewed and shared through social media platforms, "Call and Response" examines how contemporary photographers are implementing more experimental collaborative models into their documentary practice. The subjects of their work are given a prominent voice or role in the artistic process to self-represent within the collaborations. The resulting photographs play with the power structures that exist within traditional documentary storytelling.

The opening reception will be on Saturday, June 17, 2017 from 3-5 p.m. and is free and open to the public through September 3, 2017.

The Alice Austen House honors the legacy of Alice Austen (1866-1952), an early American photographer and an inspiring 'modern woman' of the Victorian age, by offering ongoing exhibitions of her life and work and of contemporary photography; by delivering educational programs for New York City schoolchildren; and by hosting a range of public arts programs.

The Alice Austen House and grounds are owned by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, operated by the Friends of Alice Austen House Inc 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and a member of Historic House Trust. The Alice Austen House is designated a New York City and National Landmark, on the National Register of Historic Places, and a member of the distinguished Historic Artists' Homes and Studios, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The Alice Austen House is located at 2 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island, NY. For information, visit http://aliceausten.org


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