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CCA Welcomes Civil Rights Photographer Danny Lyon

on October 18, 2017 - 7:31am

CCA News:

One of America’s leading photographers of the 20th century, Danny Lyon will appear at the Center for Contemporary Arts at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 12, to discuss his work and screen his classic New Mexico film WILLIE.
This very special program is part of Radical Southwest, a film series created in conjunction of the landmark exhibition Voices of Counterculture in the Southwest, on display at the New Mexico History Museum through Feb. 11, 2018.

Danny Lyon presents WILLIE, followed by on-stage interview
Radical Southwest: A Film Series, presented by New Mexico History Museum and Center for Contemporary Arts
1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 12
Center for Contemporary Arts, 1050 Old Pecos Trail                              
All tickets $12; available through the CCA box office at 505.983.1338 or
As the official photographer for Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Danny was present at almost all of the major historical events during the Civil Rights Movement. He is a longtime New Mexico resident who made numerous nonfiction films about the state in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Danny has had solo exhibits at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Menil Collection and the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco. Lyon is an active blogger at bleak beauty blog (
His classic 1986 film WILLIE, shot over the course of 15 years in Bernalillo, follows a man in constant, defiant conflict with and the judicial system. Vogue described it as “essential and revelatory … made in 1985, but its heartbreaking refrain is both well known within the prison complex and shatteringly unique in its portrayal of an individual … it’s a story that resonates even louder today.”
Radical Cinema, an eight-month film series, explores elements relating to Voices of Counterculture. Programs to date include a Summer of Love film series, including WOODSTOCK, LEONARD COHEN: BIRD ON A WIRE, MONTEREY POP and BOB DYLAN DON’T LOOK BACK; an historic gathering of scholars and participants who reflected on the raid on Tierra Amarilla in 1967; a visit by Dolores Huerta, the legendary civil rights leader; and screenings of ZABRISKIE POINT and DYING TO KNOW. The series wraps with a screening of EASY RIDER in December. The series is supported through the New Mexico Humanities Council.
Danny Lyon biography

Danny was born in 1942 in Brooklyn. He studied history at the University of Chicago, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1963. That same year, he published his first photographs working for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. His pictures appeared in The Movement, a documentary book about the Southern Civil Rights Movement. Later, Lyon began creating his own books, featuring his own writing. His first, Bikeriders (1967), a study of outlaw motorcyclists, gained authenticity due to Danny’s participation in the Chicago Outlaw Motorcycle club.
The Destruction of Lower Manhattan, published by Macmillan Publishers in 1969, documents the large-scale demolition taking place throughout Lower Manhattan. Conversations with the Dead (1971), includes photographs from six prisons taken over a 14-month period in 1967 and 1968. "I tried with whatever power I had,” he wrote, “to make a picture of imprisonment as distressing as I knew it to be in reality." One convicted criminal had his death sentence commuted due to Danny’s work. In 2007, Powerhouse Books published Like a Thief's Dream, the story of James Ray Denton, a thief, counterfeiter and bank robber." Lyon received the Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship for photography in 1969, and in filmmaking in 1979, and has won. a Rockefeller Fellowship, Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism and a Lucie Award.