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Monday, June 4, 2012

Charles W. Leslie donates $8.8 million to the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art

Charles W. Leslie, who with J. Frederic "Fritz" Lohman, cofounded the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, donated $8.8 million to the museum, in memory of his long-time partner Lohman. This major gift consists in stock holding in a New York real estate corporation, which will continue to support the museum in the future.

Together with other substantial donations, including $1.5 million dollars from the Estate of Marion Pinto, an artist and long-time friend and supporter of Leslie-Lohman, the excess of $10 million in gifts constitutes the largest donation ever received by any LGBT arts organization.

The history behind the museum goes back into the year of 1969, when Leslie and Lohman mounted their first exhibition of gay art in their loft on Prince Street in New York City, after collecting art for several years.
Shortly after they opened a commercial art gallery, but the venue would close in the early 1980s at the advent of the AIDS pandemic.

In 1989, the two men applied for nonprofit status as a precursor to establishing a foundation to preserve their collection of gay art and continue exhibition efforts. The Internal Revenue Service objected to the word "gay" in the title of the foundation, and held up the nonprofit application for nearly a decade.

The Leslie/Lohman Gay Art Foundation was finally granted nonprofit status in 1990 and its first location was in a basement at 127B Prince Street in New York.
In 2006, the collection moved into a much larger ground floor gallery at 26 Wooster Street in SoHo, but the Foundation retained its original home for storage and archive purposes.

In April 2012, it was accredited as an officially recognised museum by the State of New York and the name was changed to its current name from the Leslie/Lohman Gay Art Foundation.

The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art has a gallery for temporary exhibitions and includes a sizable permanent collection of art surpassing over 3,000 items, including names such as Andy Warhol, Delmas Howe, Jean Cocteau, Deni Ponty, Robert Mapplethorpe, George Platt Lynes, Horst and Arthur Tress.
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