Danny Lyon, Tesca, Cartagena, Colombia, 1966. Cibachrome, printed 2008. Collection of the artist. © Danny Lyon, courtesy Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York
Danny Lyon: Message to the Future
Danny Lyon: Message to the Future is the first comprehensive retrospective of the career of Danny Lyon (American, b. 1942) to be presented in 25 years. The exhibition is organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and premiered at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, in summer 2016 before its San Francisco debut.
The exhibition assembles approximately 175 photographs, related films, and ephemeral materials to highlight Lyon’s concern with documenting social and political issues and the welfare of individuals considered by many to be on the margins of society. The presentation includes many objects that have seldom or never been exhibited before and offers a rare look at selections from Lyon’s archives alongside important loans from public and private collections in the United States. This is also the first exhibition to assess the artist’s achievements as a filmmaker.
A leading figure in the American street photography movement of the 1960s, Lyon has distinguished himself by the personal intimacy he establishes with his subjects and the inventiveness of his practice. With his ability to find beauty in the starkest reality, Lyon has through his work provided a charged alternative to the bland vision of American life often depicted in the mass media.
About the Artist
Born in 1942 and raised in Queens, New York, Lyon was shaped as an artist by the prose of Beat Generation writers and the photo scrapbooks of his immigrant father. He also was inspired by the unvarnished realism of photographer Walker Evans and writer James Agee. With the support of early mentor Hugh Edwards, a curator at the Art Institute of Chicago, Lyon developed the restless, compassionate vision that marks his work in all media. Lyon’s photographs are held in public and private collections throughout the United States and internationally.
After moving from New York City in 1970, Lyon settled in New Mexico and has tackled a broad range of subjects in the Southwest and abroad: life with his family in the mixed Native American and Latino community Bernalillo (just north of Albuquerque); abandoned street children in Colombia; the political turmoil in Haiti; the chaos of life in the booming, polluted industrial outposts in China; and, most recently, the Occupy movement in New York, Los Angeles, and Oakland.
This exhibition is organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in collaboration with the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Presenting Sponsor: Anonymous. President’s Circle: The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Patron’s Circle: Anonymous.
The catalogue is published with the assistance of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Endowment for Publications.