The Fairoaks Baths
"The Fairoaks Baths: Photographs by Frank Melleno"
Polaroids from a San Francisco Bathhouse in 1978
Opening Reception: July 11, 2014 6-8pm
Exhibition: July 12 - 13, 2014 12pm-6pm
An extraordinary, glimpse into the pre-AIDS gay sexual culture,“The Fairoaks Baths” is an exhibit of Polaroids taken by Frank Melleno during the spring and summer of 1978 at the Fairoaks Hotel, a San Francisco bathhouse. These candid images are remarkable because they document the life of the bathhouse with celebration and no apology. There is no other collection of photographs that so clearly visualizes this period in bathhouse culture.
The Fairoaks baths was owned and operated by a gay commune and it lent a counter-culture approach to the establishment.There were yoga and therapy-support groups in the afternoon and monthly themed parties. Patrons got use to being photographed by Melleno who was the night manager. These photographs were set-aside in a box for more than 30 years. Many of the images contain nudity and frank erotic scenes, but they also capture men dressed in festive attire and the general life-at-the-bathhouse.
"The Fairoaks Baths" has received rave reviews at openings in San Francisco and two Los Angeles venues, Highways and the drkrm/Gallery. Both The Advocate and Lambda Literary have written articles on this project.
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