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Churner and Churner is pleased to announce the gallery’s first exhibition with photographer Danny Lyon. “Deep Sea Diver” presents over 40 gelatin silver prints taken during Lyon’s recent travels in the coal country of Shanxi Province of Northeast China. Shot between 2005 and 2009 and exhibited as a group for the first time, the photos exemplify Lyon’s signature photographer-as-participant approach. The exhibition also includes maquettes for the book Deep Sea Diver (published by Phaidon in 2011), as well as an installation of two memorabilia-covered walls transplanted from the artist’s darkroom in upstate New York. Together, the photos, walls and maquettes reveal an artist’s attempt to make sense of his own history.

 

Lyon’s black-and-white, 8×10-inch images of cafes, coal miners, and circuses stand apart from the monumental size and digital gloss of much contemporary photography. Throughout his career, Lyon has frequently conceived of his series as book projects, from his classic Bikeriders—the result of two years as a member of the Chicago Outlaw Motorcycle Club—to his exploration of Texas prisons, Conversations with the Dead, and the memoir Knave of Hearts. Likewise, the “Deep Sea Diver” series is part travel album, part diary, a photojournalistic personal narrative about aging and history. “The landscape looks as it if has survived a bomb blast,” writes the 70-year old artist in his accompanying text. “There are times when I wonder if I am making a record of the past, or if I’ve come to see the future.”

 

Lyon’s style is dry, matter-of-fact, and startling honest – not just about his subjects, but about himself. His method is one of collage, as seen in the two maquettes for the book, an early black-and-white model and the final three-volume version on Strathmore sketchpads. Working with his prints, Lyon constructs the book by hand, taping and re-taping certain images, shifting pages, and leaving blanks for text. For over 30 years Lyon did the same thing to his studio wall: arranging and rearranging announcement cards, prints, and mail on the sheetrock surface. When the artist decided to move out of his studio, Churner and Churner removed his darkroom walls to preserve the ephemera. “Deep Sea Diver” is a window into Lyon’s intricate process, a tour of his private inspirations, the accumulation of objects, moments, and journeys that end up in his photographs.

 

ABOUT THE ARTIST

 

Born in 1942 in Brooklyn, Danny Lyon received a BA from the University of Chicago in 1963. He has had solo exhibitions at the Menil Collection, Houston; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Art Institute of Chicago; and the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C., among numerous others, and his photographs are in collections worldwide. His work is currently on view at the de Young Museum in San Francisco in “This World Is Not My Home: Photographs by Danny Lyon,” which originated at the Menil Collection and will continue on to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

 

A partial list of Lyon’s books includes Bikeriders (MacMillan, 1968; reprinted Twin Palms, 1997; Chronicle Books, 2003), Conversations with the Dead (Holt, 1971), Pictures from the New World (Aperture, 1981), andIndian Nation (Twin Palms, 2002). He published Memories of Myself (Phaidon) in 2009, Deep Sea Diver (Phaidon) in 2011, and a new book is slated for 2013. Lyon has been awarded two Guggenheim Fellowships, a Rockefeller Fellowship, and ten National Endowment for the Arts awards, in both film and photography. He was the first staff photographer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), traveling the South from 1963 to 1964 to capture the civil rights movement. Danny Lyon divides his time between New York and New Mexico.

 

For more information, contact Renee Bovenzi at 212.675.2750 or renee@churnerandchurner.com.

“From his early civil-rights photographs to his portraits of a motorcycle club, a Brooklyn gang, and the inmates of a Texas prison, Lyon has been a fiercely engaged observer.”

“Goings On About Town:Art”, The New Yorker (November 28, 2012)

“The thirty photographs in “Deep Sea Diver” are the fruit of six visits to Shanxi Province between 2005 and 2009.”

Brian Sholis, “Critics’ Pick”, ArtForum (November 26, 2012)

“Danny Lyon, known for such archetypally American photo books as “Bikeriders” and “Conversations With the Dead,” spent four years shooting in the coal country of northeast China’s Shanxi province.”

William Meyers, “Finding a China Worlds Apart”, The Wall Street Journal (November 2, 2012)

“Danny Lyon’s series “Deep Sea Diver” was shot during his recent travels in the coal country of Shanxi Province of Northeast China.”

“Danny Lyon: Deep Sea Diver”, PDN Photo of the Day (October 30, 2012)