Anthony Friedkin, Hustlers, Selma Avenue, Hollywood,

Anthony Friedkin, Hustlers, Selma Avenue, Hollywood, 1971, from the series The Gay Essay. Gelatin silver print. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, gift of Mary and Dan Solomon, 2011.66.8

Anthony Friedkin: The Gay Essay

June 14, 2014January 11, 2015
Gallery 12

A native of Los Angeles, Anthony Friedkin (b. 1949) honed his photographic skills at an early age and became a professional artist after he graduated from high school in the late 1960s. A variety of magazine assignments took him into the streets of his hometown, where he created vivid photo essays that examined the diverse neighborhoods and touched on some of the most important social and cultural issues of the time. During the culturally tumultuous years of 1969 to 1973, Friedkin made a series of eloquent and expressive photographs that chronicle the gay communities in Los Angeles and San Francisco at the time. The Gay Essay was a self-assigned project and, although largely unknown today, it arguably comprises the most important set of photographs in Friedkin’s portfolio to date.

For the first time, the full depth and range of this unique series will be presented in an exhibition at the de Young. Coinciding with the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City, Anthony Friedkin: The Gay Essay will present approximately 75 vintage prints. Friedkin’s portraits, taken in streets, hotels, bars, and dancehalls, demonstrate a sensitivity and an understanding that has imbued the series with an enduring resonance. Contact prints, documents, and other materials from the photographer’s archive will also be on view, illuminating the conception, process, and execution of this work and the broader historical context that gave rise to it.

Daylight Editions

In partnership with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Daylight has reproduced the original 1973‒1975 maquette of Anthony Friedkin's The Gay Essay (exhibited at the de Young for the first time) along with audio commentary by the artist and ephemera related to the work.

Daylight is an organization dedicated to sharing art and stories via print and digital media experiences termed “Editions.” Daylight Editions incorporate rich media (images, audio, video, text) and sharing functionality to offer immersive encounters with works of art, the stories behind them, and their makers. Through partnerships with museums, galleries, artists, and collectors, Daylight Editions serve as companions to exhibitions and printed publications.

For free access to the digital edition, visit: www.daylight.co/thegayessay

Exhibition Preview

Anthony Friedkin, Gay Couple, Palace Theatre, San Francisco, 1972 from the series The Gay Essay. Gelatin silver print. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, anonymous gift, 2011.58.1
Anthony Friedkin, Gene Harlow, Drag Queen Ball, Long Beach, 1971 from the series The Gay Essay. Gelatin silver print. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, anonymous gift, 2011.58.2
Anthony Friedkin, Black Female Impersonator Putting on Make-up, "C'est La Vie" Club, North Hollywood, 1980 from the series The Gay Essay. Gelatin silver print. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, anonymous gift, 2011.58.5
Anthony Friedkin, Gene Harlow in Gown, Long Beach from the series The Gay Essay, 1971. Gelatin silver print. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, anonymous gift, 2011.58.6
Anthony Friedkin, Michelle Backstage, "C'est La Vie" Club, North Hollywood, 1970, from the series The Gay Essay. Gelatin silver print. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, anonymous gift, 2011.58.10
Anthony Friedkin, Michelle Putting on Make-up, 1972, from the series The Gay Essay. Gelatin silver print. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, anonymous gift, 2011.58.11
Anthony Friedkin, Female Couple, Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, 1970, from the series The Gay Essay. Gelatin silver print. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, anonymous gift, 2011.58.13
Anthony Friedkin, Jim & Mundo, Montebello, East Los Angeles, 1972, from the series The Gay Essay. Gelatin silver print. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, anonymous gift, 2011.58.16
Anthony Friedkin, Gay Couple, Black & White, Young Boys, 1970, from the series The Gay Essay. Gelatin silver print. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, anonymous gift, 2011.58.20
Anthony Friedkin, Women at Gay Liberation Parade, Los Angeles, 1972, from the series The Gay Essay. Gelatin silver print. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, anonymous gift, 2011.58.23
Anthony Friedkin, Gay Liberation Parade, Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, 1972, from the series The Gay Essay. Gelatin silver print. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, anonymous gift, 2011.58.34
Anthony Friedkin, Hustlers, Selma Avenue, Hollywood, 1971, from the series The Gay Essay. Gelatin silver print. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, gift of Mary and Dan Solomon, 2011.66.8
Anthony Friedkin, Portrait of Kelly, Silverlake, 1972, from the series The Gay Essay. Gelatin silver print. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, gift of Mary and Dan Solomon, 2011.66.12
Anthony Friedkin, The Reverend Troy Perry, Gay Activist, Los Angeles, 1973 from the series The Gay Essay. Gelatin silver print. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, anonymous gift in honor of Sheila Glassman, 2012.70.4
Anthony Friedkin, Divine, from "Mask of the Red Death", Palace Theatre, San Francisco, 1972, from the series The Gay Essay. Gelatin silver print. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, anonymous gift in honor of Sheila Glassman, 2012.70.24
Anthony Friedkin, Young Man, Troupers' Hall, Hollywood, 1969, from the series The Gay Essay. Gelatin silver print. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, gift of Mary and Dan Solomon, 2011.66.10

This exhibition is organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

The catalogue is published with the assistance of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Endowment for Publications.