New York’s Leslie-Lohman reopens with major retrospective of lesbian photographer Laura Aguilar: Show & Tell

New York’s Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art reopened earlier this month with two new exhibitions. Laura Aguilar: Show and Tell,​ marks the first comprehensive retrospective of the late American photographer’s ​candid portrayals of herself, her friends and family, and LGBTQ+ and Latinx communities. The museum’s second exhibition, Dissolution,​ ​features works created by the first two cohorts of the annual Leslie-Lohman Museum Artist Fellowship 2017-18 and 2018-19.

“From Laura ​Aguilar’s radical and sublime images of queer love, community, and self-acceptance, ​to new works by our ​Fellows who come from a variety of backgrounds and engage in equally divergent art practices, the new season of shows offers a multitude of points of view and positions in queer identity,” s​aid Stamatina Gregory, Chief Curator and Director of Programs.

Laura Aguilar: Show and Tell

The first comprehensive retrospective of American photographer ​Laura Aguilar​ ​(b. 1959, San Gabriel,
CA; d. 2018, Long Beach, CA),​ the survey assembles more than 70 works produced over three decades, from the 1980s to the late 2000s. ​Through photographs and videos that are frequently political as well as personal, and which traverse performative, feminist, and queer art genres, Aguilar offers candid portrayals of herself, her friends and family, and LGBTQ+ and Latinx communities.​ Aguilar’s now iconic triptych, ​Three Eagles Flying​ (1990), set the stage for her future work by using her nude body as an overt and courageous rebellion against the colonization of Latinx identities—racial, gendered, cultural, and sexual.

Laura Aguilar, ​Plush Pony #15​, 1992, Gelatin silver print, 14 x 11 inches. ​© Laura Aguilar / ​Gift of the Laura Aguilar Trust of 2016, jointly acquired by the Vincent Price Art Museum Foundation and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Aguilar’s practice intuitively evolved over time as she struggled to negotiate and navigate her ethnicity and sexuality, her challenges with depression and auditory dyslexia, and the acceptance of her large body.​ From early photography, including portraits of friends and other artists within the Chicana/o art community, Aguilar moved to courageous nude self-portraits, while her emerging lesbian identity and political activism within Los Angeles’s gay and lesbian community began to inform her work.

The show is organized by the Vincent Price Art Museum in collaboration with the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center and guest curated by art historian and Curator and Professor Emerita of Chicana/o Studies at East Los Angeles College,​ ​Sybil Venegas.


Organized by Assistant Curator Angela Hallinan and Daniel Sander. Queer artists have always existed at the forefront of politically engaged artmaking, and the works on view both continue that legacy and consider the role of queerness at the intersection of wider social relations, including class and inequality, race, and ecological crisis. The artworks subvert and reimagine signifiers of masculinity, imagine new forms of childhood, or resist linear narratives of progress. Through this embrace of negation, the artists illustrate alternate possibilities and propose radically new ways of being.

The show is organized into two parts. From February 6th to March 13th, ​work by Buzz Slutzky, Catalina Schliebener, Eric Rhein, Gwen Shockey, Kiyan Williams, Kristine Eudey, Max Colby, Michael Childress, Rodrigo Moreira, ​and ​Vanessa Rondon​ will be on view. From April 11th to May 25th, the second installation will include ​artwork by Boris Torres, Caitlin Rose Sweet, Carrie Hawks, Christopher Unpezverde Nuñez, desireena almoradie, Frederick Weston, Jason Villegas, Lola Flash, Nash Glynn, Sal Muñoz,​ and ​Seyi Odebanjo​.

The Leslie-Lohman Museum Artist Fellowship is a program designed to empower and support queer artists. Cohorts are invited to participate in a series of professional development workshops and pedagogical seminars that emphasize peer-to-peer learning, mentorship, and community building across disciplines to create a sustainable art practice.

Remote Intimacies​ – Online Performances

The museum’s ongoing series ​Remote Intimacies​ is ​co-organized with the ONE Archives at USC ​and held on Zoom and other platforms (updates on Instagram (@leslielohmanmuseum).​ Future performances include ​Xina Xurner​ (March 4th), ​Katarzyna Perlak​ (April 8th), ​Dayna Danger (May 6th), and ​Alli Logout​ (June 10th).

Chitra Ganesh’s ​iteration of QUEERPOWER is the museum’s annual site-specific public art installation installed in the exterior windows of the Museum. ​A city will share her secrets if you know how to ask​ (2020) deploys imagery drawn from the architecture of 19th-century Black settlements Seneca Village and Little Africa, as well as 17th-century Lenape settlements and structures that have been destroyed or erased, alongside flora and fauna indigenous to New York City. The work also features images of trans and gender-nonconforming people who have been violently murdered this year, historic queer and trans activists, and those lost to COVID.

The artist (b. 1975), whose practice unearths narrative representations of femininity, sexuality, and power typically absent from canons of literature, history, and art and includes drawings, prints, comics, installations, and video, is recognized internationally. The work extends the artist’s ongoing commitment to femininity and social formations that are often overlooked or excluded from mainstream discourses around queerness and race and highlights current and vibrant queer Asian and South Asian communities that influence the artist.

In February, a virtual tour will be accessible through the Gesso app, available on iPhone and Android and accessible on or offsite.

The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art is located at 26 Wooster Street, SoHo. Admission is a suggested donation of $10. Open Wed-Sun, 12-6 pm, and Thurs, 12-8 pm. The Museum is a nonprofit organization and is exempt from taxation under section 501(c)3 of the IRS Code.

The Museum is following safety procedures for its staff and visitors issued by the Centers for Disease Control, New York State, and New York City. This includes limiting the number of visitors, requiring visitors and staff to wear face coverings at all times, physical distancing, and enhanced cleaning procedures. @leslielohmanmuseum #LeslieLohmanMuseum

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