“Photographer, filmmaker, and writer Danny Lyon (b. 1942) has over the past five decades presented a charged alternative to the sanitized vision of American life presented in the mass media. Throughout, he has rejected the standard detached humanism of the traditional documentary approach in favor of a more immersive, complicated involvement with his subjects. ‘You put a camera in my hand,’ he has explained, ‘I want to get close to people. Not just physically close, emotionally close, all of it.’ In the process he has made several iconic bodies of work, which have not only pictured recent history but helped to shape it.
Lyon committed intensively to photography from the beginning. In 1962, while still a student at the University of Chicago, he hitchhiked to the segregated South to make a photographic record of the civil rights movement. He went on to photograph biker subcultures, explore the lives of the incarcerated, and document the architectural transformation of Lower Manhattan. He has traveled to Latin America and China, and has lived for years in New Mexico; the work he has made throughout these journeys demonstrates his respect for the people he photographs on the social and cultural margins. (…)” — Introductory Wall Text
Danny Lyon: Message to the Future is organized by Julian Cox, Chief Curator and Founding Curator of Photography, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (FAMSF). The exhibition will be in San Francisco at the de Young Museum, November 5, 2016 through March 12, 2017.
The installation at the Whitney Museum is overseen by Elisabeth Sussman, Curator and Sondra Gilman, Curator of Photography. All images courtesy Whitney Museum of American Art.