Circus of Books online show echoes the need for 'human-to-human' interaction

Timed to coincide with the Netflix documentary on the legendary bookstore and gay haven, the digital exhibition pays homage to "something we are sorely missing during this time in isolation"

Christen Mooney, Dauphin & A Mirror, 2019 Courtesy of Fierman Gallery

Coinciding with the recently released Netflix documentary Circus of Books directed by Rachel Mason about the eponymous gay bookstore and pornography shop in Los Angeles—which served as a haven for the gay community in Hollywood for more than three decades—the New York-based Fierman Gallery has organised an online exhibition that “pays homage to the culture of community fostered there, something we are sorely missing during this time in isolation”, says the dealer David Fierman.

The mom-and-pop bookstore “provided a space for gay people to meet and interact and spark culture and joy in same ways galleries could before the coronavirus pandemic”, Fierman adds. And amid the loss of physical retail spaces due to shifting consumer tastes and rising real estate prices in Los Angeles and across other major cities, “galleries remained one of the stubborn stalwart businesses that demanded real-life viewing, happenstance interactions and casual run-ins; we’re hoping to return to this level of human-to-human interaction after the coronavirus pause and look to the queer community for inspiration, as always”.

The show Circus of Books: Blowout (until 31 May) features works by artists like Vaginal Davis, Slava Dozol and Wayne Koestenbaum, and the gallery will donate 20% of proceeds from work sold to the LGBTQ youth organisations Ali Forney Center in New York and Mi Centro in Los Angeles. “Take this presentation as a gesture towards a future in which we bump shoulders in a gallery, gay bar or bookstore,” Fierman says.