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You gotta put the book on the table
Charles Gatewood, Annie Sprinkle and Fakir, 1993 (Detail)

Charles Gatewood »

You gotta put the book on the table

Exhibition: 3 Jul – 29 Aug 2016

Fri 12 Aug 19:00 - 22:00

Center for Sex and Culture Gallery

1349 Mission Street
CA 94103 San Francisco

+1 415-358 7200


Charles Gatewood, who died this spring, took pictures from the 1960s until the end of his life. His passing on April 28th 2016, leaves a gap in our lives which we are temporarily seeking to fill with an amazing, career-spanning show of his photographs, collages and personal ephemera - You gotta put the book on the table: Art by Charles Gatewood.

Gatewood made his first sale of a photograph in 1966 with his iconic portrait of Bob Dylan. From 1966-1975, Gatewood worked on assignment for Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Harper’s, Time, and other national publications. His photos of musicians and authors include William S. Burroughs, Etta James, Allen Ginsberg, Rod Stewart, Al Green, Abby Hoffman, Miriam Makeba, Joan Baez, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Quentin Crisp.

He was known as ‘the anthropologist of the forbidden,’ according to kink newsletter The Fetishistas. His documentation of sexual and alternative subcultures in San Francisco is unmatched. Beginning with his book in 1975’s Sidetripping documenting queer and trans nightlife (with an introduction written by William S. Burroughs), through 1989’s Modern Primitives, in which Gatewood’s photographs of tattooed and pierced Americans and Europeans alongside Andrea Juno and V. Vale’s writing changed style and subculture dramatically, and continuing to recent fetish videos and books, Gatewood captured the beautifully odd and outcast in a way that we think of now as a genre that must be larger than just this one man’s work.

Charles Gatewood has published over a dozen books, including Burroughs 23, Forbidden Photographs, The Body and Beyond, True Blood, Publishing Ink: The Fine Art of Tattooing, Badlands and Messy Girls in addition to over 40 videos and films. He received 3 fellowships from the New York State Arts Council, the Leica Medal of Excellence for his book Wall Street. Charles Gatewood’s images have been archived in over a dozen libraries and universities across the United States and the largest collection, the Gatewood Archive, is at the Bancroft Library at University of California, Berkeley.

At the reception on August 12th, there will be a gallery discussion at 8 pm with Carol Queen (Executive Director of CSC and long time friend of Gatewood’s), Dorian Katz (CSC Curator), Eve Mohrman (artist and Gatewood’s partner), Robert Tat (art dealer who exhibited Gatewood’s photos at Robert Tat Gallery in San Francisco).