Edwynn Houk Gallery is pleased to present American Odyssey: Birmingham to Bernalillo, a selection of Danny Lyon’s iconic vintage prints as well as rarely-seen photographs spanning the artist’s six decades as a photographer, filmmaker, and activist.
From his earliest photographs made during the Civil Rights movement in Birmingham, Alabama to his most recent works in Bernalillo, New Mexico where he has lived since the 1970s, Lyon has been a witness to American history and an active participant in its shaping. One of the founding fathers of New Journalism, he immersed himself in the social and political issues of the 1960s. With camera in hand, he marched alongside and shared jail cells with key civil rights leaders. He rode recklessly with the Chicago Outlaws motorcycle club. He befriended death row inmates inside Texas prisons. A trailblazing photographer, Lyon was among the first to shine a light on issues of racial justice, incarceration, and immigration.
This exhibition presents the breadth of Lyon’s photographic work, highlighting more recent modern landscapes of Standing Rock Indian Reservation and portraits of immigrants in the American Southwest. While Lyon trains his lens on the country’s harsh realities, his photographs are imbued with beauty and a great empathy for the individuals he portrays. These photographs from the frontlines remind us that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. That such subject matter can contain hopefulness for a better and more just future is a testimony to the lasting power of his photographs.
Danny Lyon is a photographer, filmmaker, and writer who began his career as the staff photographer of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1962. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including Guggenheim Fellowships in both film and photography, and the 2015 Lucie Award for Achievement in Documentary Photography. Lyon is a 2022 inductee of the International Photography Hall of Fame. He has published many photography books, including the seminal volumes The Bikeriders (1968), The Destruction of Lower Manhattan (1969), and Conversations with the Dead (1971), as well as his own writing in Like a Thief’s Dream (2007) and American Blood (2021). The Bikeriders has been made into a major motion picture starring Austin Butler and Tom Hardy. Lyon has been the subject of over 50 solo exhibitions and his work is in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Art Institute of Chicago; Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC; the J. Paul Getty Museum, among others.
2 March – 15 April 2023