Since 1994, Cubbyhole has been a kitsch haven for the city’s LGBT community. Inside, fizzy pop tunes reverberate against $2 happy hours and a ceiling covered with paper holiday ornaments. Outside, though, you’re crashed back into the touristy, suburban feel of the West Village.
That’s what queer artist Gwen Shockey saw during her Sunday morning excursions. “On Sundays, you get a true sense of who is now living in these neighborhoods. They are mostly straight white families with a lot of wealth,” she says, sitting across Cubbyhole in mid-October. “But this place has held up.” Camera in hand, she’s been documenting the history of lesbian bars like Cubbyhole – one of four sites still standing in the five boroughs.
Compelled by this changing landscape, the 29-year-old wanted to make the invisible lesbian bar scene visible again. These forgotten watering holes, many of which have been razed or repurposed into restaurants, will resurface in her solo show Addresses, which opened today at Amos Eno Gallery in Bushwick. She uncovers almost a century’s worth of lesbian herstory through photographs accompanied by back issues of the Village Voice and audio interviews.