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Anthony Friedkin: The Gay Essay

Updated: 2014-07-31 / By Dan Rosenbaum (sanfrancisco.travel)
[Photo from sanfrancisco.travel]

Anthony Friedkin: The Gay Essay, on view June 14, 2014–January 11, 2015, presents a unique photographic series by Anthony Friedkin. A native of Los Angeles, 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.

Entry to this exhibition is included in general admission to the museum.

Related Lectures & Events

Join Friday Nights at the de Young on June 13, July 11, August 8, September 12, and October 10 to celebrate special exhibition Anthony Friedkin: The Gay Essay with thoughtful programs curated by the Friedkin | Haring Public Programs Community Advisory Committee.


de Young Museum

Golden Gate Park

50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive

San Francisco, CA 94118



Hours: Tuesdays–Sundays, 9:30 am–5:15 pm, last ticket 4:30 pm; Fridays (March 28–November 28, 2014) 9:30 am–8:45 pm, last ticket 8 pm. Closed Mondays, except select holidays. Check website for details. Museum Store is open during museum hours. Museum Café is open Tuesdays–Sundays, 9:30 am–4:30 pm; Fridays (March 28–November 28, 2014) 9:30 am–8:15 pm.

General Admission

$10 Adults; $7 Seniors (65 and over); $6 Students with current ID and Youths 13–17. Members and children 12 and under are free. General admission is free the first Tuesday of every month.

Additional fees apply for special exhibitions.

Tickets can be purchased on site and online at deyoungmuseum.org.

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


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