Steve Kahn: The Hollywood Suites

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FAMSF Publications

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. 

The first scholarly publication to document Kahn's incredible artistic legacy, this handsomely produced volume accompanies a groundbreaking exhibition of his photographs at the de Young. Featuring 59 gelatin silver prints from The Hollywood Suites, it also includes the previously unpublished full set of Polaroids that Kahn used as source material along with numerous outtakes and variants. Together with extracts from his journals and an unpublished interview from 1977, they create a comprehensive portrait of a photographic project that is simultaneously enigmatic, evocative, seductive, and surreal.

Hardcover, 160 pages.


  • Item #978-3791357997