Culture Vulture/Photo Diary: “Expanded Visions” at Leslie Lohman

May 20, 2017

(click photos to enlarge)

I wanted to get together and check in with my friend Jeff Weinstein so we agreed to meet at the Leslie Lohman Museum in Soho. Weirdly, I’d never been to the museum since the collection moved in 2006 from a basement on Prince Street (in the building where Charles Leslie and Fritz Lohman lived) to its spiffy new location at 26 Wooster Street, cater-corner to the Performing Garage, in a space that held a beloved downtown record store (Soho Music Gallery) when I first moved to New York. And we arrived just in time for me to get a look at “Expanded Visions: Fifty Years of Collecting” a couple of days before this terrific show closed. I was excited to take in the whole gamut: painting, photography, and multimedia pieces from famous names (Duane Michals, David Hockney, Robert Mapplethorpe, Catherine Opie) to plenty of undersung artists coming from a wide spectrum beyond white gay men, like these pieces by AndréTavet, Ayakamay, and Hunter Reynolds.


There was a time when the Leslie Lohman Art Foundation (as it was once called) was looked down on as cheesy because it tended to equate “gay art” pretty exclusively with “dick pics.” There’s still a fair amount of kitsch in the collection because, hey, there is a lot of gay art that focuses on naked bodies, and a big audience for it. But over time the couple’s art-buying morphed into a seriously curated collection, and the selection for this show is pretty stellar. And I’m not just talking about Stanley, one of my favorite photographers, himself a master at eye-catching male nudes.


I recognized several artists whose work Jeff and I had seen last summer when we walked through the “AIDS Art America” show at the Bronx Museum, including Joey Terrill and Patrick Webb.


A striking untitled piece by Nicole Eisenman.


And then all this intriguing stuff new to me (as mesmerized by swinging dicks as anyone else).


And then this headboard, which I would happily have in my bedroom.

By the way, the museum has a robust online presence, including a searchable database of images from Leslie Lohman’s vast holdings. Check it out here.

 

 

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