Iconic images by Nan Goldin, Gordon Parks, Danny Lyon and Kenneth Anger expose reality of life in post-war America from the 1950s to the 1980s
TORONTO – Determined to capture the complexity and diversity of life as they saw it, the photographers and filmmakers featured in the Art Gallery of Ontario’s searing new exhibition Outsiders: American Photography and Film, 1950s–1980s, challenged and changed the dominant perception of American life with their often controversial images. More than 300 photographs and 5 films featured in this major exhibition present unforgettable portraits of individuals both at odds with and united across four turbulent decades, including musicians, protestors, cross-dressers, bike gangs, politicians, the working poor, and socialites. Outsiders opens on March 12, 2016 and timed-entry tickets go on sale on March 4.
Tickets may be purchased online at ago.ca, in person and over the phone, and are $16.50 for youth ages 17 and under, $21.50 for seniors and $25 for adults. AGO members receive free admission to the exhibition and exclusive previews in the days leading up to the public opening. More information about AGO membership can be found at www.ago.ca/membership.
Co-curated by Sophie Hackett, AGO Associate Curator of Photography and Jim Shedden, AGO Manager of Publishing, Outsiders features iconic photographs by Diane Arbus, Nan Goldin, Danny Lyon, Gordon Parks, Garry Winogrand and over 170 snapshots taken by visitors to Casa Susanna—a safe haven for cross-dressers in the 1950s and ’60s. Presented alongside these images are experimental films by Kenneth Anger, Shirley Clarke, Marie Menken, Robert Frank and Alfred Leslie.
This is the first exhibition of photography and film of this size and scope in the AGO’s history. Making their debut as part of Outsiders are nearly 100 works by Garry Winogrand and 170 works from the Casa Susanna collection from major collections acquired by the AGO in 2015. These acquisitions provided the inspiration for the exhibition, in addition to a promised gift of work by Danny Lyon from James Lahey and Brian Lahey and generous loans of Diane Arbus photographs from a group of private collectors in Toronto.
“The artists in Outsiders each played an important role in the transformation of the image of American life. It’s no accident that they turned to photography and film—media outside the art world—to express these new and complex realities. In both content and form, united by a documentary impulse, these artists were pioneers,” says Hackett. “As part of this exhibition we are thrilled to debut selections from the Garry Winogrand and Casa Susanna collections. Made possible by the generosity of Toronto philanthropist Martha LA McCain, these works are important additions to the AGO’s permanent collection of photography, which has been steadily growing over several decades.”
“The filmmakers represented in the exhibition and in the accompanying screening series rejected the narrative imperatives of commercial cinema. Instead they took their cues from painting, dance and poetry. They were inspired by the physical properties of the camera and the chemical properties of film. They filmed their environments, their bodies and everyday life and death. And they filmed society’s outcasts: hustlers, hookers, bikers, junkies, homosexuals and eccentrics,” says Shedden. “Films like Kenneth Anger’s Scorpio Rising were both controversial and enormously influential–and they paved the way for filmmakers like Scorsese and the whole MTV generation.”
This spring, the AGO celebrates Outsiders with an exciting series of themed events, talks, menus and screenings. A seven-part screening series entitled Strangers, Relatives and Flaming Creatures: Outsiders on Screen will take place in Jackman Hall at the AGO, launching on March 11, 2016. Each of the films featured in the series, including Marlon Rigg’s Tongues United (1988) and Jack Smith’s Flaming Creatures (1963) will be introduced by a leading Toronto scholar or filmmaker. Tickets to all seven films can be purchased individually or as a package. For more details visit http://www.ago.net/outsiders-on-screen.
Outsiders: American Photography and Film, 1950s–1980s is part of the AGO Year of Photography, which runs through July 2016, and a key moment arrives in May 2016 as the Gallery becomes one of the official hubs for the 2016 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival. A highlight of this year’s festival is the AGO/CONTACT International Photography Talks series, featuring international curators, artists and scholars speaking on topics related to Outsiders. On May 6, 2016 the series debuts with a presentation on Diane Arbus by Jeff L. Rosenheim, Curator in Charge, Photographs, of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. On May 11, University of Toronto Professor Elspeth Brown will moderate a discussion with Los Angeles based performance artist and transgender activist Zackary Drucker and York University Professor Miqqi Alicia Gilbert on the legacy of Casa Susanna. On May 27, former AIMIA | AGO Photography prize finalist LaToya Ruby Frazier returns to Toronto to discuss the work of Gordon Parks and her own documentary practice. All talks will be held in the AGO’s Baillie Court and tickets are on sale now. For more details and to purchase tickets, click here.
Beginning March 12, 2016, the AGO Bistro celebrates American home cooking with a pair of southern-inspired prix-fix menus. Featuring reimagined American favourites, like Carolina flat iron steak, southern fried Cornish hen and Dutch apple-pie, the three-course prix-fixe lunch menu is available for $29 and three-course dinner menu is available for $39. A prix-fixe dinner and exhibition package will also be available for $65. For those attending the Outsiders on Screen series, a two-course prix-fix menu will be available on select evenings for $27. For more information and to make reservations, please call 416-979-6688.
A 192-page hardcover catalogue, featuring over 150 colour images, will accompany the exhibition. Co-published by the AGO and Skira Rizzoli, Outsiders: American Photography and Film, 1950s-1980s is edited by Sophie Hackett and Jim Shedden, with a foreword by Stephanie Smith, and features essays by Katherine A. Bussard, Martha Kirszenbaum and Tess Takahashi with Jim Shedden. The catalogue will be available for sale in shopAGO and online for $29.95.
For more information about special programming offered in conjunction with the exhibition, click here and be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram at #OutsidersAGO.
Outsiders: American Photography and Film, 1950s–1980s is organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario and presented in partnership with Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival.
Generously supported by
Cindy and Shon Barnett
Maxine Granovsky Gluskin and Ira Gluskin
The W. Garfield Weston Foundation
AGO/CONTACT International Photography Talks supported by
Signature Partner, Photography Collection Program
Canada Council for the Arts
ABOUT THE AGO
With a collection of more than 90,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. From the vast body of Group of Seven and signature Canadian works to the African art gallery, from the cutting-edge contemporary art to Peter Paul Rubens’s masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, the AGO offers an incredible art experience with each visit. In 2002, Ken Thomson’s generous gift of 2,000 remarkable works of Canadian and European art inspired Transformation AGO, an innovative architectural expansion by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry that in 2008 resulted in one of the most critically acclaimed architectural achievements in North America. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block, and the often-photographed spiral staircase, beckoning visitors to explore. The AGO has an active membership program offering great value, and the AGO’s Weston Family Learning Centre offers engaging art and creative programs for children, families, youth and adults. Visit ago.ca to learn more.
Mar. 12 –May 29, 2016: Outsiders: American Photography and Film, 1950s-1980s
July 1 –Sept. 11, 2016: The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris
Oct. 22, 2016 – Jan. 29, 2017: Mystical Landscapes: Masterpieces from Monet, Van Gogh and more
The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Additional operating support is received from the City of Toronto, the Canada Council for the Arts and generous contributions from AGO members, donors and private-sector partners.
For hi-res images and other press inquiries, please contact:
Andrea McLoughlin; Senior Publicist, Holmes PR
Andrea-Jo Wilson; Senior Communications Officer, AGO Communications
Caitlin Coull; Manager, AGO Communications