Review by Samantha Wu
The Art Gallery of Ontario, located at 317 Dundas St W, has just opened its newest exhibit to the public. On now until May 29, the AGO presents Outsiders: American Photography and Film – 1950s – 1980s, marking the gallery’s first photography and film-centric exhibit since their renovations.
This particular exhibit showcases the lives of marginalized and subjugated people in America during the decades following the Second World War. In 300 documentary-style photos captured by the likes of Diane Arbus, Nan Goldin, Danny Lyon, Gordon Parks, including candid shots of those who attended Casa Susanna, plus eye-opening five films by Kenneth Anger, Shirley Clarke, Marie Menken, Robert Frank, and Alfred Leslie, the daily lives of immigrant people, the poor, coloured communities, queer, and trans communities are featured.
The photos captured in this exhibit are simply put stunning and remarkable, in particular, the works of Garry Winogrand and his careful eye for capturing the social issues of struggling communities in the outer boroughs of New York. Danny Lyons’ collection of photos The Bikeriders, a look at the biker gang that Lyon was a member of, the Chicago Outlaw Motorcycle Club, leaves a lasting impression. The collection of candid snaps from the lives of individuals attending Casa Susanna, a weekend retreat for heterosexual transvestite men to live and express themselves freely in the 1960s, are also intriguing.
The five films being shown during the exhibit are screened on a loop allowing attendees to capture glimpses of the films as they will. Stay for the duration or however long you’re willing. Shirley Clarke’s film Portrait of Jason, a documentary about a black male prostitute and entertainer, and Marie Menken’s Go! Go! Go! a rapidly paced collection of mostly forgotten 20th Century art films, are particularly interesting.
A number of screenings and talks are scheduled through the duration of Outsiders at the AGO, they’re certainly worth checking out when exploring the exhibit. See the AGO website for more information.