Artist’s books often serve to define the best-known images of an entire series. As in Robert Frank’s The Americans and Walker Evans’ American Photographs, the illustrated images become the most iconic and most recognized images from these artist’s series. When it is time to reissue these great monographs, publishers, artists and editors alike will use the benefit of retrospect, to re-edit, and often expand the selection of images in order to reproduce other important works that had previously not been included.
In a reexamination of the artist’s career, the works in this retrospective exhibition have been selected because they have never been published. Comprised of unique prints, decorated photographs, variants of iconic images and never-before-seen works, the exhibition uses Lyon’s important monographs as a guide, including The Destruction of Lower Manhattan (first edition: MacMillan Company, 1969; Revised Edition: Powerhouse Books, 2005), The Bikeriders (first edition: MacMillan Company, 1968; Revised Edition: Twin Palms Publishers, 1997; Third Edition: Chronicle Books, 2003), Conversations with the Dead: Texas Department of Corrections (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1969). And with the addition of these previously unpublished works, the exhibition will add to a more complete understanding of Lyon’s important contribution to the history of photo-documentary.
A writer and filmmaker as well, Lyon has taught non-fiction film at Columbia University, SUNY and CUNY, and has self published numerous books and films through his company, Bleak Beauty (www.bleakbeauty.com). Lyon is a past recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation in both filmmaking and photography. He continues to make photographs and films, splitting his time between Upstate New York and Sandoval County, New Mexico.