Outsiders

March 17, 2016 at 4:04 pm (Uncategorized)

As we stood waiting to have our tickets checked, the guy on the desk looked at my two kids and cautioned me the Outsiders exhibit at the AGO had mature content.

“It’s OK, ” I replied, “they’re already jaded.”

Outsiders is a collection of photographs and film from the 1950s to the 1980s of an alternative America the undiscovered country. Documented by  photographers such as Diane Arbus, Nan Goldin, Danny Lyon, Gordon Parks, Garry Winogrand, , and filmmakers Kenneth Anger, Shirley Clarke, Robert Frank and Alfred Leslie, and Marie Menken, it presents an America hidden but sometimes in plain view: Beat poets, anti-war protesters, society types, nudists, motorcycle clubs and cross dressers all figure prominently in astonishing exhibition.

The first selection is photographs by  Garry Winogrand. Along one wall, three strips of pictures: the elite at the Centennial Ball, working people going about their lives and then various protests (a guy selling Workers World is visible in one). Wander through scenes of poverty in Harlem, then nudist camps and Casa Susanna. Watch too the Chicago Motorcycle clubs and realize the void in post-war America.

I love back and white photography. Somehow the starkness of the images brings a sense of reality (or should that be unreality?) that colour does not.  Great exhibit. If you’re in Toronto in the next couple of months, it’s worth seeing, perhaps more than once – I didn’t sit through Pull My Daisy, but next time…

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