It's Official — New York's Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art Finally Gets State Recognition

Detail of Andreas Sterzing's "Pier 34-1211 Mike Bidlo and David Wojnarowicz (Luis Frangella Murial in Background)," 1983/2012
(Courtesy of the Artist)

From the Stonewall Riots of 1969 to the recent legalization of same-sex marriage across the United States, considerable strides have been made in the fight for LGBT rights. The visual arts have captured their share of this energy, so it sounds crazy to say that there are no instutions catering to work on LGBT themes. Yet New York's Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art — which goes by the unfortunate acronym MoGLA — claims in a press release to be the “first and only museum of gay and lesbian art in the world.” A quick Google search failed to turn up any others, so we'll assume that they're right.

MoGLA, which inhabits in a tony space on Wooster Street in SoHo, became official recently when it received museum accreditation from the State of New York, thereby becomming the newest serious addition to the city's art infrastructure. But it is not exactly a new arrival, either. Founded 20 years ago by Charles Leslie and his late partner, Fritz Lohman, the museum is now run by a board of directors. Curator Jonathan D. Katz, who co-organized the National Portrait Gallery's contested "Hide/Seek" show on gay identity in art history, sits as president.

What to expect from a visit to the newly legal museum? The institution's current exhibition, “The Piers: Art and Sex Along the New York Waterfront,” runs through July 7, and examines the uses of the Hudson River docks by artists and gay subculture, focusing specifically on the ways in which the gay rights movement and Stonewall transformed New York City’s cultural landscape. Upcoming shows include “The Pop-Up Museum of Queer History” (August 14-September 2) and “Del Grace Volcano: A Mid-Career Retrospective” (September 18-November 11).

Click on the slide show to see images from recent exhibitions at MoGLA.