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2019 SPE Annual Conference: The Myths of Photography and the American Dream / Major support by The Joy Family Legacy Foundation

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Nathan Lyons: In Pursuit of Magic

Through his writings, curatorial practice, teaching, photographs, and photobooks, Nathan Lyons (1930-2016) had a tremendous impact on the history and practice of photography for more than sixty years. His work as a writer and curator has been widely celebrated, but his own art is less well known, despite its formal acuity and conceptual rigor. Nathan Lyons: In Pursuit of Magic demonstrates that he practiced what he preached—not only in the black-and-white images he sequenced and reproduced in his photobooks, but also in his final body of work. These last photographs, created in the decade before he died, are color images made with a digital camera and presented as inkjet prints. This exhibition represents the public's first opportunity to see that work in tandem with selected photographs from his earlier bodies of work.

One of the primary features of Lyons's work is his use of juxtapositions and sequencing as a core tenet of visual language, and he strongly believed in visual literacy as the key to navigating modern social life. His color work brings his vision full circle, providing a platform for discussion about the overwhelming presence of images and advertising in contemporary life. Nathan Lyons: In Pursuit of Magic details his vision and demonstrates its relevance for a new, visually sophisticated audience.

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