Saturday, September 29, 2012

Danny Lyon at the de Young

Danny Lyon (American, b. 1942), Crossing the Ohio, Louisville, 1966. Gelatin silver print. The Menil Collection, Houston, gift of Kenneth G. Futter. Photograph © 2012 Danny Lyon/Magnum Photos. Courtesy of the Edwynn Houk Gallery and

I previewed the Danny Lyon exhibition at the de Young yesterday. It's a small selection of his work spanning the time from the 1960s to present day. It's definitely worth a visit to the museum if you plan to take in the other galleries as well or if you're a member.

As always with photography exhibitions at the de Young I was left wanting more and with the feeling that this could have been a truly great exhibition had it been curated by another museum. Be that as it may, this exhibition provides to good opportunity to get a sense of Lyon's mastery of photography. I was impressed by the consistently exceptional compositions of the images on display, so many of them made on the move.

Some of the most recent images include scenes from China which convey a similar sense of struggle and search for hope that can be seen in Lyon's work from the '60s. As Lyon said in conversation at the museum last evening, his motivation for photographing was political not photographic. But I see his mastery of the photographic allowing the expression of the political, making his work exceptional indeed.

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