Walking into the newly expanded Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in Soho feels like a major evolution from its last iteration as a single gallery. The space, which effectively doubled to 5,600 square feet, was inaugurated at Tuesday’s press preview with a speech by the museum’s newly minted director, Gonzalo Casals. Originally from Buenos Aires, Casals is a queer Latino immigrant who’s held prominent positions at cultural institutions like Friends of the High Line and El Museo del Barrio. With this experience in mind, he seems well suited to initiate new efforts to diversify the museum’s collection and programming with non-white, cis-male perspectives.
The most visible change at Leslie-Lohman is its entrance. Gone is the shrunken foyer with its coat check area that awkwardly intruded into the gallery space. Instead, the entrance opens to a reception desk, with space to its right for a forthcoming bookstore. These small changes make the museum feel much less cluttered than before while serving as a bridge between the two galleries. The new one, the Marion Pinto Gallery, is a serviceable addition to the museum. Aesthetically, it offers the standard white walls and flexible space we are accustomed to having at institutions. But thanks to this addition, the museum’s permanent collection will always have a room of its own, one that will be continuously open to the public even when the other gallery is closed for exhibition installations. more>