I recently visited the Leslie-Lohman Museum to see the second half of the “Art After Stonewall” exhibition that I saw at the Grey Gallery at New York University. The art is from just before the Gay Rights Movement just before the Stonewall Uprising and into the depths of the AIDS crisis of the early to mid-80’s.
It was interesting to see the perspective of people ‘coming out’ after the suppression of the 50’s and early 60’s and the wanting to conform to societies standards. People gravitated to the cities to find themselves and found an embracing community that was not always accepted by the status quo of the City. It was that suppression building up on conformity to be a certain type person that lead to riots, that being tired of being harassed all the time.
‘Art After Stonewall’ (picture of Devine)
There was a lot of lesbian art and the changes women felt at the time. Some was the changes in attitude and some of it was militant to the way the outside community treated these women. It was interesting to see the changes in less than a decade of how people saw themselves and the changes that people were capable of making.
‘Art After Stonewall’
The show closed on July 21st, 2019 but there are more shows in the future. The best part of the museum is that they have a suggested donation so if you do not have a lot of money it is a nice way to spend the afternoon and then explore SoHo and Chinatown.
History of the Leslie-Lohman Museum:
We can trace the origins of the Leslie-Lohman Museum back to the civil rights movement of the late 1960’s. In the moment of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair and the Stonewall Inn Uprising, gay art collectors Charles Leslie and Fritz Lohman presented their first exhibition in their SoHo loft in the summer of 1969. This weekend show featured downtown gay artists and was a complete success in attracting over 300 visitors-it because a seminal moment in the history of the Leslie-Lohman Museum and LGBTQ arts and culture.
In the midst of the 70’s gay liberation movement, our founders continued to collect and display the work of gay artists in various storefronts in SoHo while advocating for the preservation of the neighborhood, its unique architecture and the nascent community of artists living and working in its spacious lofts. Finally, settling in a basement gallery at 127-B Prince Street, this space became host to many art exhibitions and various cultural programs.
During the AIDS pandemic of the 80’s, Charles and Fritz created a refuge for ailing artists and their work. Along with providing care and lodging for them, they rescued the work of dying artists from families who, out of shame ignorance, wanted to destroy it. This led to the creation of the Leslie-Lohman Art Foundation in 1987 and to its ever-expanding collection of art. Through perseverance against the federal government, averse to approving a “gay art” organization, the foundation was finally granted tax-exempt in 1990.
Today, thanks to the hard work of generations of activities and artists, our community has gained greater visibility. However, the fight for our rights is not over. The foundation has transitioned into a museum that aims to preserve LGBTQ cultural identity and build community, reclaim scholarship from a queer artists and cultural workers. As we continue to stand at the intersection of art and social justice, we act as a cultural hub for LGBTQ individuals and their communities.
I never realized until just recently that we have an art gallery on the Bergen Community College campus. I have been teaching here since 2013 and just found out about this little ‘gem’ that is tucked in the second floor of West Hall.
This wonderful little gallery can be accessed on the Main Campus of Bergen Community College and is open to the public for viewing. The Art students of Bergen Community College show their works in student shows and the Retailing students show their work outside the Gallery.
Gallery Curator Professor Tim Blunk
The Gallery is a reasonably sized space and viewing the Gallery Bergen takes a reasonable amount of time that is not over-whelming. It is a nice way to spend the afternoon when visiting the campus.
Please visit the Bergen Community College for future shows.
Gallery Bergen recently showed, “Belongings: Photographs at the Borders of Citizenship” exhibition which is showing the works of Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams and Clem Albers (1942) and Tamara Merino (2018). This exhibition pairs two sets of photographic records, two tragic experiences of people on two sides of the US border, separated by seventy-five years in America’s cultural and political struggle over who belongs and who doesn’t (Bergen Gallery Press Release).
A former exhibition was “Lines of Fire/Lines of Ice” . This exhibition is art being presented to get us to think of our effects on nature. The Gallery Bergen is presenting art that might help us change our views of ourselves in the world (Curator).
“It is 2019. Fires advance; glaciers retreat. Oceans rise; deserts spread. The Homo sapiens population grows exponentially; entire species of fish, mollusks, insects, amphibians and birds perish each day. Lines are being redrawn on the surface of the earth-lines that can be seen from space. Yes these same lines are often blurred or erased when viewed through the lens of ideology”-Tim Blunk, Curator.
See Performance Artist Jaanika Peerna perform the ‘Glacier Elegy’ similar to the one she did at opening night.
The Gallery is curated by Professor Tim Blunk, Director Gallery Bergen.
In April 2019, the Student Art Show is going on in the Gallery. This was where students were showing off their end of the semester projects.
Student Show at Gallery Bergen
A former show by Hackensack-based artist Lauren Bettini, whose exhibition “On the Mend” was an exploration of the female body, displaying themes of “Women’s work” through accounts of women who bear scars, both physically and emotionally. This unique installation utilizes the entirely of the gallery, literally tying together embroidery of surgical procedures are “mended” through the appearance of the physical act of sewing. The exhibition is a platform to celebrate the beauty of their altered bodies while women stand strong together to share their stories.
Artist Lauren Bettini
It is an interesting take on what we endure in life and how we sometimes hide it from society.
“On the Mend” Exhibition Summer 2019
The mounted three-dimensional castings of woman’s hands are used to symbolize a movement of women joining together, sharing their stories and helping each other heal. This platform to honor women who have survived medical surgeries, celebrates the beauty of their altered bodies and pays homage to centuries of women who have created are in the form of sewing and embroidering (Gallery Bergen Promotional packet).
The recent ‘NJSeoul: New Art from the Korean Diaspora’ that opened for the Fall of 2019. The show was a combination of paintings, pictures and visual art from five different Korean artists. The show also features video art and interesting short films.
New show from September 12th-October 31st 2019
Some information of the Exhibition on Studio Bergen
The exhibition that opened for the Fall semester 2019 is the ‘(Pro) Found Objects’, the Bergen Community College Faculty Exhibition. The exhibition features works from 19 different Professor/Artists whose work includes statuary, photos, paintings, video art and clothing construction.
This painting is by Professor Juan Leon
This painting is by artist Juan Leon
This painting is by Professor Ada Goldfeld
The opening night on November 14th 2019 featured a performance by the Music Department and a performance by the head of the Drama Department from the upcoming show “I do, I do”. Then everyone had time to look over the art before a light reception at the end of the evening.
Opening in the Spring of 2020, Gallery Bergen is featuring “Ornithology: Patterns of Flight” that features birds in flight, sound and behavior. I saw the exhibition as man’s perception of birds at play and at rest and our concept of aviation in terms to humans. How do we communicate with the natural world, if we can and how do we relate as humans to the natural world.
‘Moche-Bird Runner’ by Susan Haviland
The art was everything from visual to video and showed the artist’s interpretation of the bird world. This was my favorite piece in the show.
‘Ashes to Gold’ by Caroline Bergonzi
Each artist had a unique take on their art.
‘Deep Song’ by Susan Haviland
During the musical performance part of the opening, one of the artist’s in the exhibition teamed up with another musician and performed their concept of birds in flight. To that our Dance Department created a performance that encompassed the whole gallery.
Our Adjunct Dance Professor’s performed that night
Professor Justin Watrel at Gallery Bergen Opening
Here I am admiring the art that night. It was a wonderful exhibition. The Gallery Openings are an interesting night of art and music. The receptions are not bad either. Our Culinary Department does a nice job with appetizers and desserts.
This time lapse on YouTube is from the opening night of ‘Patterns of Flight’ at Bergen Community College
With the Gallery Bergen closed with campus being closed, Curator Tim Blunk created this YouTube video “20Big20: Quarantine and Protest” on the pandemic and racial strife:
Another exhibition that the College has is BCCAnimation:
In the era of COVID, Gallery Bergen has created new exhibitions via YouTube. This is for the new “Black Lives Matter @BCC: Photographs from the Live Protest”:
These are photos from all over the country during the Summer of 2020 protests.
Gallery Bergen recently hosted the Student Exhibition 2021 virtually:
The creative approach to Gallery Bergen in the era of COVID keeps us active.
When Gallery Bergen reopened in 2021, the first big exhibition was “The Ramapough Nation: Excavating Identity”, the art of the nation.
The exhibition featured works by local Native American artists.
The exhibition contained visual arts by local indigenous artists, panel discussions (see Facebook page) and gallery talks.
The new exhibition that recently opened in the Fall 2021 is “Zoom Out: Works from Bergen Community College Artists”, a faculty show of works from the professors from the art department.
“Zoom Out” exhibition
Works from the Opening Night:
The opening night of “Zoom Out” with works in the visual arts
The “Zoom Out” exhibition was a selection of faculty works in the visual arts, painting, graphics and sculpture. One professor created an interesting piece of video art reworking the movie “Psycho” by Alfred Hitchcock.
The video creation on the movie “Psycho”
New Works from “Zoom Out”
Work by curator and Professor Tim Blunk
In the Spring of 2022, Gallery Bergen has exhibited “Art in History: the photographers of the Great Depression”, with photos from the Depression era of the 1930’s. It was a heart-breaking display of a very dark time in our country’s history. I could see that many people don’t realize that this was only 80 years ago. It gave a view into the lives ordinary people whose lives were affected by the falling economy. Lives were upended by things like the Stock Market Crash and the Dust Bowl.
“Art in History: the photographers of the Great Depression” exhibition
The photographers were part of the WPA where people from the arts part of the government program were to keep artisans working during the Great Depression. The works are a heartbreaking reminder of how fast life can change.
I was lucky that I got to sit in on Professor Tim Blunk’s class that afternoon for the lecture on the exhibition. It is scary how much these students didn’t learn in high school about this time. What amazed me was that how much this is still going on not just all over the world but in our own state as well. I have travelled to parts of the New Jersey that remind me of these pictures.
The BCC Student Art Show 2022 was the first time in two years the students got to showcase their work in the Gallery
Asian Awareness Month in 2022 brought interesting speakers and engaging movies to Gallery Bergen.
The lectures and independent films were very interesting and brought wonderful conversations to Gallery Bergen during the celebrated month of April.
In June of 2022, I attended the opening of the “Reflection/Refraction/Manhattan: Photographs by Jin Hong Kim” exhibition at Gallery Bergen, celebrating this local Korean-American photographer/artist. Each of the works was from a section of Manhattan from the Hudson Yards to Midtown to Lower Manhattan giving a almost surrealist look at the City in the Post-COVID era. It was as if the artist asked us to look at Manhattan again from a different lense or perspective.
The new exhibition by local photographer Jinhong Kim
Each of the pictures looked as one patron said, “like something that Salavador Dali might do.” It gave buildings in Manhattan movement and asked us to look at them a second time.
I came across this little museum when I was touring Central Harlem. This museum is more like a small gallery and it is dedicated to the history of jazz in Harlem. The front section is set up like someone in Harlem’s salon with furniture from the era and sheet music from the artists. The look is based on ‘Rent Parties’ that people used to have to bring their friends over to help pay the monthly rent. The back section of the museum is dedicated to jazz and related music with a sitting area and pictures all over the wall of different era’s including the new artists of today. Jazz music plays throughout.
The Mission of the Museum:
The National Jazz Museum in Harlem, a Smithsonian Affiliate, preserves, promotes and presents jazz by inspiring knowledge, appreciation and celebration of jazz locally, nationally and internationally.
It is the thriving center for jazz that stimulates hearts and minds and reaches out to diverse audiences to enjoy this quintessential American music. The museum was founded in 1997 by Leonard Garment, Counsel to two U.S. Presidents and an accomplished jazz saxophonist, Abraham D. Sofaer, a former U.S. District Judge, who gave the initial gift in honor of his brother in law, Richard J. Scheuer and matching funds from the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone.
Displays inside the museum
The Museum is committed to keeping jazz present and exciting in the lives of a broad range of audiences: young and old, novice and scholar, artist and patron, enthusiast and curious listener. From its new location in the center of Harlem, the Museum serves the local community and welcomes visitors from across the U.S. and internationally.
The National Jazz Museum in Harlem’s vision is to establish a permanent home in Harlem for collections, programs and performances that stimulate creativity and excitement about the past, present and future of jazz and its artists (The Jazz Museum in Harlem vision statement-pamphlet).
In 2013, an exciting new era began for the Museum. We created and implemented a new strategic plan that made education central to our mission. The Museum now offers year-round educational programs for students of all ages. We also developed a new membership program with exclusive content and benefits to reach out to the worldwide jazz community.
The inside of the National Jazz Museum of Harlem
In 2015, after 15 years at the East Harlem location, we moved to 58 West 129th Street in Central Harlem. Our new space is designed to give our visitors an immersive jazz experience, in the heart of what has become Harlem’s new cultural and entertainment district. The ultimate, long-term goal is to secure a permanent home in Harlem with space enough to showcase Harlem’s vast contributions to jazz, American music and world history.
Each year, the Museum produces and presents more than 80 free programs in New York City, engaging hundreds of professional jazz artists and reaching nearly 20,000 people from around the world. The Museum is a hub for live performances, exhibitions and educational programs. It is also home to our widely acclaimed Savory Collection, which includes more than 100 hours of live recordings of jazz legends made from New York City radio broadcasts aired between 1935 and 1941 (Wiki site and Museum website).
The current exhibition is Vi*bra*tion: The history of Jazz from Louis Armstrong to Miles Davis: Their Work and Harlem Air Shaft (large musical manuscripts on the wall).
The Leadership of the Museum is under musicians Jonathan Batiste, Co-Artistic Director and Christian McBride, Co-Artistic Director.