Public Programs

Queer American Memorials Artist Talk: Sean Fader + Maureen Towey

Presented by YBCA   |  

July 9, 2023, 1–3 PM

Join us Sunday, July 9 from 1–3pm in YBCA’s Screening Room for an opportunity to hear from interdisciplinary social practice artists Sean Fader and Maureen Towey. In this dynamic conversation, Fader and Towey will unveil the design for their new project, Queer American Memorials.

Queer American Memorials is an evolution of Fader’s Insufficient Memory—an interactive Google Earth map which allows you to engage with a digital memorial to LGBTQ+ lives—which was installed in YBCA’s Grand Lobby during Pride month. In 2018, Fader began combing through historical archives—including old issues of queer publications, many of which have never been digitized and are therefore hard to find—to compile a database of every LGBTQ+ person who was murdered in a hate crime in the United States while the Hate Crimes Prevention Act was being debated from 1999 to 2000. Inspired by the Stumbling Stones in Germany and the Stonewall riots, Queer American Memorials is a nationwide project that aims to unearth erased queer histories and reclaim queer spaces that were lost to hate.

While at YBCA, you will have an opportunity to interact with the digital edition of Insufficient Memory. A digital and print installation of Insufficient Memory will also be on view in the exhibition Difference Machines—which addresses the complex relationship between the technologies we use and the identities we inhabit—at Gray Area in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood from July 7 through August 31.

Support Queer American Memorials

Fader and Towey have spent the past year working in partnership with MASS Design Group’s the Public Memory and Memorials Lab to develop memorials to mark locations where acts of deadly violence were committed against queer people.

Following the unveiling of the Queer American Memorials project design, Fader and Towey will be working with local communities and organizations to create a constellation of memorials in a few major cities across the United States. During this time, they will develop a handbook on how to create a site marker—from the permitting process to creating the augmented reality (AR) portion of the work. They also plan to start a fund which will support local communities and organizations who want to develop their own site markers. Sign up to become a project participant or funder here.

YBCA Programs are made possible in part by MacKenzie Scott, California Arts Council, #StartSmall, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the San Francisco Arts Commission, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Marilyn Conrad Trust, Doris Duke Foundation, William G. Irwin Charity Foundation, Kenneth Rainin Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Walter & Elise Haas Fund, The Bernard Osher Foundation, Meridee Moore: In Memory of Kevin King, The Sato Foundation, New England Foundation for the Arts, Gaia Fund, and YBCA Members.

Generous support provided by Blue Shield of California. Blue Shield of California is an independent member of the Blue Shield Association.

YBCA is grateful to the City of San Francisco for its ongoing support.