LOS ANGELES — In my inbox today, I received word of the Leslie Lohman Museum’s new website. It’s just one in a series of recent successes for the museum, one of America’s most important showcases and collectors of queer art. Previously a gallery and foundation, the Leslie Lohman Museum recently received a record gift of $10 million and was accredited by New York State as a museum. Now, it’s sporting a spiffy new web presence.
Given the importance of the museum’s collection, it’s fantastic that they have such an easy to navigate site, with clear archives and exhibition materials. A quick click on the Collections section gives you access to digitized copies of their archives, from drawings and photography to prints and works from antiquity (well, one work from antiquity). What the collection lays bare, though, is the lesser presence of women’s art, which mainly appears in the “special collection” of lesbian art.
The real treasure is the searchable database. Though it has a clunky interface reminiscent of the 1990s, it’s easy enough to search by keywords or simply click on “Random Images” to get a sense of what’s inside. Another helpful resource is a timeline for LGBT art, starting with a look at the homosexual subtext of David, King of Israel, and moving on down to the advent of AIDS.
The new website represents an exciting new direction for the museum and is hopefully a sign that it’s aiming for a broader audience, one that includes more women and others along and outside of the LGBT spectrum.