Whitney Museum Visit: Danny Lyon and Mo Modern


Silhouettes at the Whitney

Last Saturday included an uptown visit by EVP to 75th Street and Madison Avenue in New York City’s Upper East Side and the Whitney Museum which features modern and contemporary american art – and is a museum of which I am a member.

I’ve continuously been impressed by the variety of work exhibited and the introduction The Whitney has given me to new creative vocabularies. Art forms have ranged between mystical quilts of the american South to photorealistic sculpture to the Biennial and its hodgepodge of expression . There’s always something new at the Whitney. You may not like it, but it’s new.

Saturday was half old, half new, as it turns out.

The “Modernism” exhibit on the Museum’s 5th floor featured works from the permanent collection and meant that several fine Hopper paintings were, once again, a focal point. Unlike Hopper’s more well-known works such as “Nighthawks,” these works by Edward Hopper appeared to this untrained East Village eye more painterly with thicker brush strokes and saturated colors as exemplified by “Soir Bleu.” On the other hand, maybe it was the Pat Benetar playing in my ears which made everything gooey.

On floor “4.5” – just down a short staircase from the 5th floor – Danny Lyon’s film and photos flourished. I’ve never heard of Mr. Lyon – which ultimately means nothing. Seems like he’s had quite a life in that he’s been able to enjoy membership in a Chicago motorcycle gang and a commune (and record them both photographically).

At The Whitney

Elevator Exit

His videos may have been the best part as he challenged inmates in a prison about their crimes. In one video, he questions a murderer to the point of tears. Yeah sure.. we all might cry if we were stuck in prison in the rest of our lives. But, Mr. Lyon brings truth to his video observations that is gritty (an overused adjective for something like this but WTF), uniquely aggressive and revealing. I get the feeling Mr. Lyon understands the criminal mind, almost sympathizes with it, but remains wary.

The Danny Lyon exhibit is worth the price of admission for the entire museum if you’re in the area. Go visit while the criminals are still there.


October 23rd, 2007

Entry Filed under: Music, Film, Art


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