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Human Foibles and Tender Mercies: The Photography of Lyle Bongé
August 26, 2006 - October 22, 2006
The Morris Museum of Art presented Human Foibles and Tender Mercies: The Photography of Lyle Bongé, a selection of images of Mardi Gras shot by Bongé from the early 1960s through 1974. A native of Biloxi, Mississippi, where he was born in 1929, Lyle Bongé was educated at Black Mountain College. A photographer since 1955, his work has been widely exhibited and published. Many of his Mardi Gras prints are included in his book, The Sleep of Reason: Lyle Bongé’s Ultimate Ash-Hauling Mardi Gras Photographs (1974). Bongé’s starkly evocative black-and-white photographs of New Orleans’s famous pre-Lenten celebration have helped to enrich our appreciation of the meaning of this festival of renewal. More than any of the artist’s other photographs, they have established the reputation of this Southern artist as a larger-than-life maker of poetic images. Painter William Dunlap recently observed, “The photographs in Lyle Bongé’s Sleep of Reason series show us a pre-Hurricane Katrina and pre-corporate Mardi Gras. His subjects work hard at their revels and it shows. The visual rewards are ours.” This exhibition was made possible in part by the Dusti Bongé Foundation and the City of Biloxi, Mississippi.