“Queer Holdings: A Survey of the Leslie-Lohman Museum Collection” edited by Gonzalo Casals and Noam Parness— Preserving and Fostering LGBTQ Art

Casals, Gonzalo and Noam Parness, editors. “Queer Holdings: A Survey of the Leslie-Lohman Museum Collection”, Hirmer Publishers, 2019.

Preserving and Fostering LGBTQ Art

Amos Lassen

With 224 pages and 200 color plates, “Queer Holdings” is the catalog of the Leslie-Lohman Museum in New York, the only museum dedicated to preserving and fostering LGBTQ art. It can be traced to 1969, when its founders hosted their first “homosexual art fair” in New York. Evolving from gallery to foundation to museum in five decades, Leslie-Lohman’s collection reflects shifting histories of LGBTQ social movements in the United States, from the Stonewall riots to the AIDS epidemic  when the founders often rescued the work of dying artists from families who wanted to destroy it.
This volume presents two hundred objects from the museum’s vast permanent collection, along with texts that explore history, provenance, genre, and subject matter. The pieces we see here engage us in critical conversations about gender and race. At once a wide-ranging survey of queer art and a critical glance at contemporary museum collecting practices, “Queer Holdings” looks at an institution’s possible futures by revisiting the milestones of its activist past. 
 This wide-ranging collection illustrates the changing landscape of public gay life and the civil rights advances incrementally gained since Leslie began discreetly buying homoerotic art in the 1950s. He bears witness to the many injustices and indignities faced by the LGBTQ community but has also played a distinguished role in civil rights advances, moments of progress and hope. . . . As a collector and community builder, Leslie has been a linchpin in the process of normalizing queerness in art.” 

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