The Leslie Lohman Museum

leslie lohman

The Leslie Lohman Museum, located in Manhattan, New York, is the first dedicated LGBTQ art museum in the world with a mission to exhibit and preserve LGBBTQ art, and foster the artists who create 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 door.

In the Main Gallery, the calendar of events includes 6-8 major exhibitions a year, film screenings, plays, poetry reading, artist and curator talks, and panel discussions. Other galleries include the Wooster St. Window Gallery, which shows art from both emerging and established artists, and the Prince St. Project Space wihch hosts the weekly Leslie-Lohman Studio and offers weekend exhibitions and events. For more information visit: The Leslie-Lohman Museum.

The Museum maintains a collection of over 24,000 work, and retains an artist archive with information on over 1,900 LGBTQ artists. It also houses a library of over 1,600 volumes, one the most comprehensive collections of published books, cataloges, and pamplets on LGBTQ art. And it publishes The Archive, a quarterly journal about LGBTQ art and artists.

Co-founders, Charles Leslie and Fritz Lohman began showing and collecting art in their SoHo loft in 1969 to provide an outlet for gay artists. With an attendance of overr 200 people at their first weekend exhibition, they quickly realized the need for this type of venue in the community. 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 destroyed by disapp[roving families. They established the Leslie/Lohman Gay Art Foundation, Inc., in 1987.

Marion Pinto, American 1935 - 2010

Marion pintoMarion Pinto was born in 1935 in New York City into a family of performing artists. She attended the High School of Music and Art and then New York University. She was an actress and model and from 1958 to 1968 traveled as an executive in the cosmetics industry, where she had the opportunity to visit major museum collections in both the United States and Europe.

Marion Began doing large-scale portraits, and in 1972o was commissioned by Charles Leslie and Fritz Lohman to paint a double portrait of them. Her first one-woman show in 1975 was called "Man as a Sex Object." In 1976 she unvieled "The Ballroom Mural" at the Ballroom Restaurant in SoHo, a group portrait of eighteen famous figures associated with the SoHo Art world that measures 8 x 14 ft.

Marion spent a tw0-year residency in Kikawa, Japan in 1989 where she studies ancient Japanese art traditions, producing work that forms a bridge between old and new, East and West. The exhibition was very successful in Japan, culminating in inclusion in the Shimane Festival in NYC. In 1996 her second Hikawa, Japan series "Living in the Land of the Gods and Goddesses" was shown in New York, with a number of dignitaries and artists from Japan in attendance.

Mari0n's last series consisted of nine paingitngs of herself and her family, spanning a 100-year period. Borrowing styles from the masters, she placed each person in their particular historical time frame.

Many of Marion's paintings are in the Leslie Lohman Museum Collection, and she was a frequent exhibitor and guest at Foundation and Museum events. Charles Leslie says, "I spent a lot of time with Marion in her final decline and it was wrenching. But we have her art, which will be cared for and shown again and again. When Fritz died, I lost half of my heart. When Marion died, the half that remains was broken--I love you Marion."

Kiss ballroom odalesque


Neel Bate aka "Blade", American 1916 - 1989

neelNeel Bate (BLADE) is the true precursor of the Toms, Rees, Etiennes, and a host of other stars in the ever-growing galaxy of homoerotic astonishing number of them trace their first consciousness of a genuinely and overtly gay sexual image to a badly photocopies series of pictures entitled  "The Barn" which first circulated -- clandestinely, of course -- in 1947/48. In the years since then, literally hundreds of thousands of copies of that legendary series have been reproduced. But at last, Neel Bate's work is where it belongs; not furtively passed from hand to hand, but in an art museum for the world to see and for serious connoisseurs of erotic to appreciate.

Charles Leslie, Co-Founder, The Leslie/Lohman Gay Art Foundation

Written by Neel, excerpted from his book The Barn 1948 and more Dirty Pictures.

Before I could talk I could draw recognizable pictures and it wasn't too long before they began getting DIRTY. Early in grade school I sketched my beating-off buddies--drawing them right into the action...[later] we spent weekends together off on a boat or in a tent, developing HOT one-on-one relationships, while school was often one round after another of shower and locker-room jack-off seesions, nobody worrying about who was straight or queer. Gay was a secret code-word. By ten or eleven, I had pulling-off pals for every day of the month with extras always horning in.

I won scholarships to art school ... and was just getting nicely ostarted with a good art background when a family disaster plus the DEPRESSION dictated my earning my living. Work was scarce.. [so] I hitched to California where I luckily found a job that used my designing and drawing talent. I never stopped drawing HOT guys...Instead of loggers, sailors, fishermen, etc. I'd sketched in Washington, it was college jocks, lifeguards and cowboys--both real and Hollywoord style--and many of them became photographer's models for early physique magazines. Not badly built myself, I possed for many photographers too, but the pictures were not printed...because I was anxious to keep my anonymity. At that peri0od it was illegal even to posses make nude photos and I resisted the temptation to have any of my artwork published, afraid my DIRTY PICTURES would land me in the slammer.

My first SERIOUS set of DIRTY PICCTURES ...represents an early thrust out of the closet. Regulations had relaxed somewhat and my pal and I took the dare; he printed up twelve sets of the twelve drawings and gave them to a gay bartender we knew to sell. He also rented out stag movies and had his apartment raided that week before he'd sold a single set. From those original twelve sets, confiscated by the NYCPD, THE BARN was spread all over the globe and must have made a lot of dough...

I at least had greatmoral support during that time, good friends such as George Platt Lynes, who took such excellent photos... of the original BARN drawings that, when they were stolen at gunpoint in the sixties, I didn't feel bad. George's negatives assured prints that would all but duplicate the drawings. Dr. Kinsey took away the last shred of phony SHAME I ever have had about expressing myself drawing DIRTY PICTURES, assuring me that they're art, insisting on having copies of everything to go into the archives at Bloomington, Indiana. David Loo, a sadly neglected and fine writer on queer lifestypes, was always a great encouragement to me as were George DeSantis, the first publisher to actually PAY me ..., [as were] Charles Leslie and Fritz Lohman of Leslie-Lohman Gallery and Lou Weingarden of Stompers Gallery.