From January 28 through March 1, 2015, TCNJ’s Art Gallery will present, Danny Lyon: Memories of the Southern Civil Rights Movement. The exhibition includes 50 photographs by renowned photographer and filmmaker Danny Lyon, whose 1960s photographs of the Civil Rights movement are considered to be some of the defining images of the era. The exhibition is being presented as part of TCNJ’s campus wide exploration of the theme of justice and in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act.
Born in Brooklyn in 1942, Lyon became a leader of post-War documentary photography and film and helped create a mode of photojournalism in which the picture-maker is deeply and personally embedded in the subject matter. A self-taught photographer and a graduate of the University of Chicago, Lyon began his photographic career in the early 1960s as the first staff photographer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), a national group of college students that played a major role in Civil Rights sit-ins, freedom rides, and the 1963 March on Washington.
From 1962 to 1964, Lyon traveled the South and Mid-Atlantic regions documenting the Civil Rights Movement. His photographs were published in The Movement, a documentary book about the Southern Civil Rights Movement, and later in Memories of the Southern Civil Rights Movement, Lyon’s own memoir of his years working for the SNCC.
The exhibition in TCNJ’s Art Galleryincludes some of Lyon’s most powerful images. Just as Lyon immersed himself in his subject matter, this exhibition of his historic photographs will allow visitors an opportunity to engage with this vitally important period of American history. As U. S. Congressmen John Lewis has commented regarding Lyon’s photography, “This young white New Yorker came South with a camera and a keen eye for history. And he used these simple, elegant gifts to capture the story of one of the most inspiring periods in America’s twentieth century.” Lyon has had one-person exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Menil Collection in Houston.
In conjunction with the exhibition, TCNJ’s Department of Communications Studies will present Lyon’s 1975 film Los Niños Abandonados on February 11, at 10:00 in the Kendall Hall Screening Room. Lyon’s documentary about homeless children in Columbia has been acclaimed as “one of the great cinema-vérité documentaries,” and it remains timely today, as the U. S. struggles to address the issue of immigration issues in this country.
The exhibition Danny Lyon: Memories of the Southern Civil Rights Movement is being loaned to TCNJ by Art2Art Circulating Exhibitions, a non-profit travelling exhibition organization, and is presented courtesy of Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York. The exhibition is funded in part by TCNJ’s Cultural and Intellectual Community Program Council and by the Mercer County Cultural and Heritage Commission through funding from the Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.
All TCNJ Art Gallery exhibitions and related programs are free and open to the public. The Art Gallery is located in the AIMM Building on the campus at 2000 Pennington Road in Ewing. Gallery hours are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 12:00 until 7:00, and Sundays from 1:00 until 3:00. For more information about exhibitions and programs and for directions and parking, visit tcnj.edu/artgallery or call 609-771-2633.