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Release: April 14, 2000

Exhibition of photographs by Danny Lyon and Nathan Lerner will be at UI Museum of Art

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- An exhibition of works by Danny Lyon and Nathan Lerner, two very different contemporary photographers with distinct approaches to the form, will be on display from Saturday, April 22 through Sunday, Sept. 10 in the University of Iowa Museum of Art.

"Danny Lyon and Nathan Lerner" will present photographs from the museum's permanent collection, including 15 by Lyon and 14 by Lerner that were given to the museum by his widow Kiyoko after his death in 1997.

Lyon, born in 1942, considers himself an advocacy journalist. He develops long-term relationships within groups on the peripheries of society, acting as a kind of witness for them. His photographs are not objective documents, but subjective descriptions often imbued with a respect for the people depicted and emphasizing the active role of the photographer.

His renowned book "The Bikeriders" (1968) focuses on the Chicago Outlaws, a motorcycle gang Lyon rode with during 1965 and 1966. Lyon's goal with "The Bikeriders" was to record and glorify the life of the American biker.

In 1967 and 1968, Lyon photographed convict life within six prison units in Texas, resulting in the book "Conversations with the Dead: Photographs of Prison Life, with the Letters and Drawings of Billy McCune #122054" (1969) which emotionally conveys the spirit of imprisonment. Lyon has also photographed and filmed in small towns in New Mexico, Columbia and Haiti, and more recently within Native American reservations in the western United States.

In contrast to Lyon, Lerner, born in 1913, focused on the control of technical effects for compositional purposes, rather than on events. In 1937 he attended the New Bauhaus (later the School of Design of Chicago), studying with Laslo Moholy-Nagy and Gygory Kepes. These teachers presented Cubist and Constructivist ideas, which liberated Lerner's photography from representation.

Lerner became an incessant experimentalist, creating a "light box" based on principles known in the 17th century. He built models in the light box in order to catch, reflect and modulate light. Light as a compositional tool -- how it revealed and shaped forms and created the illusion of space -- continued to be a prevalent subject of Lerner's photography for his entire career.

Kathleen A. Edwards, curator of prints, drawings and photographs at the museum and organizer of the exhibition, commented on the two artists: "I hope the exhibition will provide viewers an opportunity to compare and contrast Lyon's documentary approach with Lerner's Experimentation. Lyon focuses on an exterior, social idea of responsible authorship, while Lerner's photographs have an interior integrity, tending to show the continuity of his personal use of the medium."

The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. Public metered parking is available in UI parking lots across from the museum on Riverside Drive and just north of the museum.

For information on the UI Museum of Art, visit on the World Wide Web. Information is available on other UI arts events at