Press Releases

Danny Lyon: The Bikeriders

For Release: January 2013

"You don't want to miss seeing this collection of 1960s photos which document the free-spirited, outsiders in a more authentic way than fictional accounts in B-movies or TV shows. If you're like me, you'll find yourself scrutinizing each print to examine the details of the bikes, the 1960s fashions and hairstyles--even the tattoos--of these bikers and their girlfriends. Feel the romance of the open road as depicted in these prints--a rare experience to be had during these cold winter months in Ohio.'
-Joanna Wilson, Akron Empire

Danny Lyon: The Bikeriders features electrifying photographs of members of the Chicago Outlaw Motorcycle Club that are as fresh and alive today as they were when first presented over 45 years ago. Experience part of this 1960s counterculture January 26 – June 21, 2013, in the Akron Art Museum’s Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Gallery.

Born in 1942, Lyon grew up in Queens, NY and in 1963 earned his BA from the University of Chicago. A self-taught photographer and filmmaker, Lyon demonstrated an interest in photographing his peers rather than strangers early in his career. He became a leading figure in the emerging style called New Journalism, in which the artist immerses himself with his subjects as an active participant, not an objective observer. For The Bikeriders he became a member of the Chicago Outlaw Motorcycle Club and developed a friendship and concern for his fellow members. He represented them not as counterculture rebels but as street-wise philosophers.

The series shows the members of the Chicago Outlaws not only riding their bikes across the country, but in a variety of settings. Members can be seen alongside motorcycle racers during rallies, relaxing between rides and in their everyday lives.

This exhibition is comprised of approximately forty images from the museum’s collection. Collectively, the series was "an attempt to record and glorify the life of the American bikerider." The work represents a defining moment in Lyon’s career and remains one of the most important and influential documentary series of the late 20th century

The Bikeriders series of photographs resulted in a groundbreaking book published in 1968. At the time of its initial publication photo-journalistic books that tell a story through images and text from the subject did not really exist. Lyon reflected in a 1994 interview (Iron Horse March 1994 123 Vol.17 No.3) that “there were picture books about birds and travel. [The Bikeriders] is part of photography history as one of the first books done like this.”

Lyon has gone on to become an influential and transformative figure in the field of documentary photography. He has received the Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship twice, first in 1969 for photography and again in 1979 for film making. He continues to immerse himself and his camera in the various subcultures that he documents. In 2011 he released a book titled Deep Sea Diver and has documented the recent Occupy movement and demonstrations.

For more information on Danny Lyon visit his website at

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