The exhibition assembles approximately 175 photographs and related films and ephemera to highlight Lyon’s concern with 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 works from Lyon’s archives alongside important loans from major 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.
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) and Chief Curator at the de Young Museum. The installation at the Whitney Museum is overseen by Elisabeth Sussman, Curator and Sondra Gilman Curator of Photography.