The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art
26 Wooster Street
New York, NY 10013
Open: Sunday 12:00pm-6:00pm/Monday & Tuesday Closed/Wednesday 12:00pm-6:00pm/Thursday 12:00pm-8:00pm/Friday & Saturday 12:00pm-6:00pm
Fee: Suggested donation of $10.00
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.
(Leslie-Lohman Museum pamphlet)
The Museum is a non-profit, exempt 501C3.