Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art
The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art is the first and only LGBTQ art museum in the world dedicated LGBTQ art and history. The mission of the museum is to display and preserve LGBTQ art and the artists behind it. The Leslie-Lohman Museum embraces the rich creative history of the LGBTQ art community by educating, informing, inspiring, entertaining, and challenging all who enter its doors. The organization was founded as a non-profit foundation in 1987 by Charles W. Leslie and Fritz Lohman, who have supported LGBTQ artists for over 30 years.
Backstory and Context
During the 1980s with the rise of AIDS and the death of so many artists and collectors, Charles and Fritz realized that many important works of art were being thrown away by family members. Family who either didn’t know what to do with this kind of art or did not want to acknowledge the sexual orientation of their loved ones. Leslie and Lohman knew something had to be done, so the couple made a rigorous effort to preserve this art form. In 1987, the couple founded the Leslie/Lohman Gay Art Foundation, Inc.
The gallery’s first location was in a basement on Prince Street in New York City. In 2006, the Gallery moved into a ground floor of a much larger space located at 26 Wooster Street in SoHo New York. In 2011 that New York State Board of Regents officially declared the foundation a museum. With the gallery’s new status, it makes it the first and only gay art museum in the world or its kind. The gallery is currently looking into expansion within the upcoming years.
The Museum maintains a collection of over 24,000 works, and retains an artist archive that contains information on over 1,900 LGBTQ artists, both those represented in the collection and others of interest to LGBTQ audiences. There are three different gallery locations, the main gallery location on 26 Wooster street and then the Wooster street window gallery also located on 26 Wooster, the third is the prince street project space located on 127-B prince street. The main Gallery offers 6-8 exhibitions a year. Each exhibition includes various art in the form of poetry readings, film screenings, plays, and artists panel discussions. The Wooster Street window gallery is on view 24hr a day for the public. The Prince Street project offers weekend exhibitions and events as well and hosts the weekly Leslie-Lohman Studio.
Warerkar, Tanay. “After Expansion, NYC's Leslie Lohman Museum Provides an Even Bigger Platform for LGBTQ Artists.” Curbed NY, Curbed NY, 23 June 2017, ny.curbed.com/2017/6/23/15857940/gay-museum-leslie-lohman-soho-expansion.
Brooks, Katherine. “How Do You Build A Gay Art Museum? Hunter O'Hanian On The History Of Leslie-Lohman.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 3 Oct. 2014, www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/03/leslie-lohman-museum_n_5929100.html.