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Albuquerque Museum Presents Celebrated Photographer’s Exploration of the West

“Journey West: Danny Lyon” exhibition opens March 11, highlighting the work of the internationally known photographer.

March 2, 2023 - The Albuquerque Museum proudly presents Journey West: Danny Lyon, on view from March 11 to August 27. Journey West: Danny Lyon features the photographer’s lifelong exploration of the people, places, land, and history of the West. His connection to New Mexico is embedded in a decades-long interaction with his community in Bernalillo. 

Lyon's new photographs capture the state’s diverse landscapes and raise awareness of fires, drought, and climate change. The exhibition also includes iconic images from his series on the Civil Rights Movement, the Chicago Outlaw Motorcycle Club, the Texas Prison System, protests, sensitive portraits of individuals from around the world, and more. The exhibition features more than 175 photographs, films, and montages spanning Lyon’s 60-year career.

According to Albuquerque Museum Head Curator Dr. Josie Lopez, art, history, politics, past, present, and future overlap as they are all presented simultaneously. The images mean something both specifically and universally. They tell intimate stories about individual people but also connect with what is happening today. Many subjects in these photographs do not figure into what most people experience, but the places, stories, and lives depicted are the fabric of the Americas.

“Journey West: Danny Lyon celebrates an internationally-respected local photographer who chronicled history through the lens of New Journalism,” said Andrew Connors, Albuquerque Museum director. “Lyon didn’t just photograph his subjects and situations; he immersed himself, often as a participant, to document the American experience as it unfolded. The resulting exhibit tells a powerful story of humanity throughout the Americas including his lesser-known explorations of his home here in the western United States.”

Lyon was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1942. He studied history and philosophy at the University of Chicago where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1963. As a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Lyon was present at many major historical events during the Civil Rights Movement. His photographs include those taken during his time with the Chicago Outlaw Motorcycle Club, documenting Lower Manhattan as it was being demolished, and a 14-month period inside six maximum security prisons within the Texas Penal System where he photographed prisoners and the lives they endured there. He has published many books as well as released films and videos.

Dr. Lopez collaborated with Danny Lyon for more than two years to select the works in the exhibition. According to Dr. Lopez, “Danny Lyon’s photographs tell important stories related to historic events, but they also show everyday people over time. The images are presented as a mosaic of humans and the land. Ultimately, these works are an act of empathy and a call to pay attention.”

A catalog for the exhibition will be available in the Museum Store. Softback copies are available for $45 and $65 for hardback.

This exhibit is curated by the Albuquerque Museum. Details are subject to change.