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September 29, 2018March 31, 2019

Steve Kahn: The Hollywood Suites

Los Angeles in the early 1970s was a place of economic, cultural, and social turbulence, and many artists responded by experimenting with non-traditional approaches to art making. Within this atmosphere of creative investigation, the photographer Steve Kahn began to work on a project that would become The Hollywood Suites. In 1974, he rented out rooms in a motel on Melrose Avenue and started to photograph professional bondage models posed within. However, his attention was quickly drawn away from the women and toward the mundane rooms in which they worked. He began to focus on the dilapidated interiors, including uneven curtains hanging askew from windows and doors that seemed to both offer and deny passage. His endeavor grew into a multifaceted conceptual series that used the motel’s physical features to adroitly explore ideas of psychological bondage and containment. Presenting this recently rediscovered project, Steve Kahn: The Hollywood Suites marks the artist’s first museum exhibition and is one of the first exhibitions since his untimely death earlier this year.

Image: Steve Kahn, “Acting Out” (detail), 1976. Twelve Polaroids, with scratching, each image: 2 7/8 x 3 3/4 in.; overall: 18 3/4 x 20 in. © Stephen H. Kahn Trust / Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery