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Pop-Up Museum of Queer History Debuts in SoHo

By Andrea Swalec | August 4, 2011 1:37pm
"Altar to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence" by Jason Bishop and Tim McMath will be part of the Pop-Up Museum of Queer History's first installation at the Leslie/Lohman Gay Art Foundation in SoHo Aug. 6-25, 2011.
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Ian Kowaleski/The Pop-Up Museum of Queer History

MANHATTAN — A new pop-up museum focusing on gay history has set up home in SoHo.

The first installation of the Museum of Queer History opens Saturday at the Leslie/Lohman Gay Art Foundation.

The pop-up features work by more than 30 artists, archivists and academics in formats including audio, video, diorama and textile. 

The show serves an important need, said Jerry Kajpust of the Leslie/Lohman Gay Art Foundation, which is sponsoring the show with the CUNY Graduate Center's Center for Lesbian And Gay Studies.

"We are a part of American culture and world culture," Kajpust said. "We need to really record our history. We can help give a sense of who we are and what we've done." 

The pop-up, portable format allows artists to reach more people than a traditional, permanent museum would, said co-curator Hugh Ryan, 33. 

"This brings the work to people who need and want to see it," Ryan said. "Creating a permanent home for an LGBT history museum is a great idea, but we're really interested in bringing it to other places. That creates more venues for more voices." 

The show, which had previously been shown informally at a house shared by a gay community in Brooklyn, will be on display at 26 Wooster St. from Aug. 6 through Aug. 25. It kicks off with an opening reception Saturday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Ryan, a children's book author and journalist who curated the show with artist Buzz Slutsky, said the foundation was a perfect place for the exhibit, given the history of its founders, J. Frederic "Fritz" Lohman and Charles W. Leslie. 

"Charles Leslie is someone who stood up against Robert Moses and preserved SoHo as a neighborhood," Ryan said. "He has a real spot in gay history, so having [the exhibit] there feels really fitting."

The museum is not sure yet where it will head next, Ryan said.