Leslie-Lohman Gallery (now Leslie-Lohman Project Space)
originally known as "The Basement," then the Leslie-Lohman Gallery, and now known as the Leslie-Lohman Project Space
The Leslie-Lohman Gallery, the precursor to the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art (formerly the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art), opened at this SoHo location in 1987 to exhibit and promote the work of LGBT artists.
In 2012, the Prince Street location reopened as the museum’s Project Space, which celebrates and promotes the work of emerging LGBT artists.
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The Leslie-Lohman Gallery, originally known as “The Basement” and now known as the Leslie-Lohman Project Space, was opened in 1987 by partners Charles Leslie and Fritz Lohman, who lived in a neighboring loft building at 131 Prince Street. The gallery, located in the basement space at 127B Prince Street, was the predecessor of today’s Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art (formerly the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art).
Recognizing a need for celebrating gay-themed artwork at a time when this was considered controversial, Leslie and Lohman began exhibiting works at their SoHo loft in 1969. They eventually opened a gallery on Broome Street that operated until 1981. During the 1980s, with the AIDS epidemic leading to the death of many artists and collectors, Leslie and Lohman realized that many important works of art were being destroyed by families, either because they did not know what to do with this type of art or they did not want to acknowledge the sexuality of their relatives. Deciding that these works needed to be preserved, Leslie and Lohman created the Leslie-Lohman Gay Art Foundation in 1987, a non-profit organization. Its first official gallery was located in a small space at 127B Prince Street.
Holding numerous exhibitions of gay and lesbian artists, the Leslie-Lohman Gallery on Prince Street remained the organization’s main location until 2006, when the gallery was moved to a new space at 26 Wooster Street. This remains the current location of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, which became an accredited museum in 2016. According to its website, the museum “the only dedicated LGBTQ+ art museum in the world with a mission to exhibit and preserve LGBTQ+ art and foster the artists who create it.”
In 2012, the 127B Prince Street location reopened as the Leslie-Lohman Project Space, under the curatorial direction of Leslie. It serves as a functional performance and exhibition space and supports living artists with pop-up weekend shows. Its active schedule of exhibitions is part of the museum’s overall programming.
- Architect or Builder: Buchman & Deisler
- Year Built: 1893-94
Charles Leslie, phone call with Jerry Kajpust, June 17, 2019.
Jerry Kajpust, Director of External Affairs, Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, e-mail to NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, June 18, 2019.
Kris Grey, Deputy Director of Education and Visitor Experience, Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project Site Suggestion Form, 2018.