Danny Lyon: Message to the Future

Solo en Inglès

Listen to commentary from scholars Elisabeth Sussman, Todd Gitlin, Julian Cox, and artist Danny Lyon on selected works in the exhibition Danny Lyon: Message to the Future.


Danny Lyon (b. 1942), _Clifford Vaughs, another SNCC photographer, is arrested by the National Guard, Cambridge, Maryland_, 1964. gelatin silver print. 8 × 10 in. (20.32 × 25.4 cm). Collection of the Corcoran/National Gallery of Art, CGA 1994.3.3 © Danny Lyon, courtesy Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York

Narrator: Here, Lyon photographs Clifford Vaughs, another SNCC photographer. We only know it’s him because his name appears in the title. The photograph itself focuses on his brutal, dehumanizing arrest.

Todd Gitlin: What you can see is the deformation that’s taking place, and that is entirely appropriate. Segregation deformed human life, and the demonstrators meant to expose that deformation to a larger world, and these photos helped to do that. 

Julian Cox: Lyon was the first photographer to be officially appointed by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. 

Narrator: Julian Cox is a curator at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and organized this exhibition.  

Julian Cox: He was essentially the peer to the important leaders of that movement, John Lewis, James Forman, Julian Bond. He was a kindred spirit. They set him to work making pictures that helped to change history. 

Narrator: SNCC was very savvy in their use of photography. They used Lyon’s images in books and posters, disseminating a localized struggle to the nation as a whole.