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How Do You Build A Gay Art Museum? Hunter O’Hanian On The History Of Leslie-Lohman

originally posted on: Huffington Post by Katherine Brooks
October 3, 2014

“We have so many histories,” Hunter O’Hanian explained to me in a recent chat. I had asked him to give me the abridged history of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, the institution for which he currently serves as director. Indeed, the museum cites more than a few birthdays on its website — one in 1969, when Charles Leslie and the late Fritz Lohman opened their home to art enthusiasts, one in 1987, and another in 2011. O’Hanian clarified:

“We officially started in 1987, when people were dying of AIDS. Families would come in and throw everything away — throw away the gay art. It was obviously a terrible time, the ’80s in New York City. So Charles and Fritz, who lived in SoHo, decided that they wanted to do something about it.” The co-founders were already a large part of gay culture, O’Hanian explained, having welcomed 200 people to their first exhibition years before. Realizing that the art created by their friends and peers was being disposed of at a rapid pace, the two decided to set up a non-profit corporation to preserve and exhibit the works of art that spoke to the gay and lesbian community.

Click here to read the article and view more photos at Huffinton Post

Photo: James Bidgood, Willow Tree (Bruce Kirkman), mid-1960s, Digital C-print, 19.688 x 15.438 in. Foundation Purchase.

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