Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art
The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, operated by the Leslie-Lohman Gay Art Foundation, is a visual art museum in SoHo, Manhattan, New York City. It mainly collects, preserves and exhibits visual arts created by LGBTQ artists or art about LGBTQ themes, issues, and people. The Museum offers exhibitions year-round in numerous locations and owns more than 22,000 objects, including, paintings, drawings, photography, prints and sculpture. It has been recognized as one of the oldest arts groups engaged in the collection and preservation of gay art. In May 2011, the Foundation was awarded Museum status by the New York State Board of Regents. The Museum is a member of the American Alliance of Museums and operates pursuant to their guidelines.
The Museum maintains a Permanent Collection into which more than 1,300 objects have been accessioned. The Permanent Collection contains works by a number of well-known gay artists such as Berenice Abbott, David Hockney, Ingo Swann, Catherine Opie, Andy Warhol, Tom of Finland, Delmas Howe, Jean Cocteau, David Wojnarowicz, Robert Mapplethorpe, George Platt Lynes, Horst, Duncan Grant, James Bidgood, Duane Michals, Charles Demuth, Don Bachardy, Attila Richard Lukacs, Jim French, Del LaGrace Volcano, Paul Thek, Peter Hujar, Arthur Tress and many others.
To exhibit and preserve art that speaks directly to the many aspects of the LGBTQ experience, and foster the artists who create it. We embrace the rich creative history of this community by educating, informing, inspiring, entertaining, and challenging all who enter our doors.
The Leslie-Lohman Gay Art Foundation was founded by J. Frederic "Fritz" Lohman and Charles W. Leslie. The two men had been collecting art for several years, and mounted their first exhibition of gay art in their loft on Prince Street in New York City in 1969. They opened a commercial art gallery shortly thereafter, but this venue closed in the early 1980s at the advent of the AIDS pandemic.
In 1987, the two men applied for nonprofit status as a precursor to establishing a foundation to preserve their collection of gay art and continue exhibition efforts. The Internal Revenue Service objected to the word "gay" in the title of the foundation and held up the nonprofit application for several years. The Foundation was granted nonprofit status in 1990.
The Leslie-Lohman Gay Art Foundation's first location was in a basement at 127B Prince Street in New York City. In 2006, the Foundation moved into a ground floor gallery at 26 Wooster Street in historic SoHo; gallery space will be expanding in size in 2016-2017.
The Museum offers several principle programs, including the maintenance of its Permanent and Study Collections, 6-8 annual exhibitions at 26 Wooster Street, 4-6 annual exhibitions in the Wooster Street Windows Gallery, and multiple weekend exhibitions and drawing workshops at its Prince Street Project Space at 127b Prince Street in SoHo. The Museum's exhibitions are organized by Guest Curators who submit proposals which are reviewed by the Museum Director and Exhibition Committee.
In addition, the Museum offers a complete year-round schedule of educational programing, including talks, lectures (Slava Mogutin, Duane Michals, Catherine Opie, Jonathan David Katz, etc.), films and books signings. The LLGAF also publishes The Archive made available to its membership that includes information on the Leslie-Lohman collection, new acquisitions, events, and articles on artists and exhibitions. The Museum has a library with more than 2,500 volumes on gay art and maintains files on more than 2,000 individual artists. The Museum has begun to travel its exhibitions as its 2013 Sascha Schneider exhibition traveled to the Schwules Museum in Berlin. The Museum's Classical Nude: The Making of Queer History was on preview at the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives gallery in West Hollywood in the summer of 2014.
The Museum makes objects in its collection available for loan to qualified organizations and in recent years has borrowed works from other institutions, including the Library of Congress, Smithsonian Institution. New York Public Library, The Andy Warhol Museum, and other organizations.
Governance and Finances
The Leslie-Lohman Museum is governed by an independent Board of Directors. The Foundation employs a full-time staff, and relies on the assistance of volunteers to implement its programs. The Museum also runs a Fellowship Program. It is financed by its endowment, contributions from private donors and foundations as well as a membership program. The Foundation expands its collection primarily by donations from artists and collectors. It files an IRS 990 tax return each year.
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