Fashion knows too well the power of the Outsider – it is a great source of inspiration (and at times exploitation). But before fashion began exploring the margins, artists were already there – living in and documenting life on the margins. These artists often chose the medium of photography, which at the time was still seen as a lesser art, but also a much more accessible and immediate media. The newest exhibition from the Art Gallery of Ontario provides a well-curated retrospective of this work - Outsiders: American Photography and Film, 1950s–1980s. These works, and the artists who made them, were often criticized at the time for being too real, too gritty, and too vulgar. But that was the point. A retrospective like this shows us how far we have come but also where we have been. This show is a must see for anyone interested in American culture and the issues that inform and shape it – race, gender, sexuality.

The exhibition features works by well-known photographers like Diane Arbus, Nan Goldin, Danny Lyon, Gordon Parks, and Garry Winogrand. But it also includes some cutting edge films and filmmakers from the same era, including: Robert Frank’s and Alfred Leslie’sPull My Daisy , Kenneth Anger’s Scorpio Rising,  Jason Holliday’s Portrait of Jason, and of course, Nan Goldin’s The Ballad of Sexual Dependency.

The show runs from March 12 to May 29, 2016 at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto.