Danny Lyon: Message to the Future

One of the most important functions of art is to bear witness to people and events so that they cannot be ignored. No artist of our age has performed that role with more powerful heart than photographer Danny Lyon. Throughout his now over 50 year career he has immersed himself in communities that America has vilified or ignored with a care and compassion that not only brought attention to them but a greater consideration of their humanity.

From his role as an official photographer with S.N.C.C. in the early 60’s through his more recent work documenting the lives of the poor in the Southwest and South America Lyons has tirelessly spoken through his work for people who were not being heard by society at large.

This summer from June 17th- September 25th, the Whitney Museum, bears witness to the importance of this man’s life and art. This elegant comprehensive exhibition serves as testament  to Lyons role in shaping a world that is better as result of his voice. This exhibit covers work from all of his published books as well as fantastic seldom or never before shown films and photos from all of his projects. 

In addition to a wealth of stellar prints there are also wonderful resources that offer a glimpse in to the artist evolution and the nature of his process. The curators set a recreation of Lyons home studio as the first thing we see when entering the gallery and spread through there are notebooks and ephemera that coincide with and contextualize all of the art on display.