Saturday, March 8, 2014

Garry Winogrand Retrospective


San Francisco Museum of Modern Art  March 9 through June 2, 2013.(Click on link for complete review and many images)
National Gallery of Art, Washington March 2 Through June 8, 2014
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (June 27 through September 21, 2014); t
Jeu de Paume, Paris (October 14, 2014, through January 25, 2015);
Fundación MAPFRE, Madrid (March 3 through May 10, 2015).

The first retrospective in 25 years of work by artist Garry Winogrand—renowned photographer of New York City and postwar American life—will be on view at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, March 2 through June 8, 2014. Revealing the full breadth of his art for the first time, Garry Winogrand brings together some 190 of the artist's most iconic images—many never before exhibited or reproduced.

Exhibition Highlights

Working in the tumultuous postwar decades, Winogrand captured moments of everyday American life, producing an expansive picture of a nation rich with possibility yet threatening to spin out of control. He did much of his best-known work in New York City in the 1960s, but he also traveled widely around the United States, from California and Texas to Miami and Chicago. Combining hope and buoyancy with anxiety and instability, his photographs trace the mood of the country itself, from the ebullience of the postwar optimism to the chaos of the 1960s and the gloom and depression of the post-Vietnam era.

When he died suddenly at age 56, Winogrand left behind thousands of rolls of exposed but undeveloped film and unedited contact sheets — some 250,000 frames in total. Many of these pictures have been printed for the first time for this long-awaited retrospective of his work. By presenting such archival discoveries alongside celebrated pictures, Garry Winogrand reframes a career that was, like the artist's America, both epic and unresolved.    

The exhibition is divided into three sections over seven galleries, each presenting a broad variety of subjects found in Winogrand's art. "Down from the Bronx" presents photographs taken in New York City from his start in 1950 to 1971; "A Student of America" looks at work made in the same period during journeys outside New York; and "Boom and Bust" addresses Winogrand's late period—from 1971, when he moved away from New York, to his death in 1984—including photographs from Texas and Southern California, as well as Chicago, Washington, and Miami. The third section also presents a small number of Manhattan photographs made during Winogrand's return visits; like much of his later work, they express a sense of desolation unprecedented in his earlier photographs.

A video of Winogrand at Rice University in the 1970s, edited for the exhibition, allows visitors to experience rare footage of the artist talking to students in a casual, extemporaneous manner.

Garry Winogrand (1928–1984)

Born in the Bronx, Winogrand is known primarily as a New York City street photographer, often associated with famed contemporaries Diane Arbus and Lee Friedlander. Exposing some 20,000 rolls of film in his short lifetime, Winogrand photographed business moguls, everyday women on the street, famous actors and athletes, hippies, politicians, antiwar demonstrators, soldiers, animals in zoos, rodeos, car culture, and airports. He was also an avid traveler who roamed around the United States to locations that included Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Ohio, Colorado, and the open country of the Southwest.

After serving in the military as a weather forecaster, Winogrand began working as a photographer while studying painting on the G.I. Bill at Columbia University (1948–1951). He supplied commercial photographs to such general-interest magazines as Life, Look, Sports Illustrated, Collier's, and Pageant. His career was further shaped by the decline of these popular magazines and the rise of a new culture of photography centered in the art world.

Although Winogrand was a prolific photographer throughout his career, he largely postponed printing and editing his work, especially at the end of his life. He published five books, but they contain only a fraction of his oeuvre. In his later years he spoke of reviewing and reediting all of his photographs, but he died abruptly, leaving behind more than 6,500 rolls of film (almost 250,000 images) that he had never seen, as well as proof sheets from his earlier years that he had marked but never printed. Winogrand's archive, including his film and proof sheets, is now housed at the Center for Creative Photography of the University of Arizona, Tucson.

Curators and Catalogue

Garry Winogrand has been conceived and guest-curated by the photographer and author Leo Rubinfien, who was among the youngest of Winogrand's circle of friends in the 1970s. As initiating curator, Rubinfien worked closely on the project with Sarah Greenough, senior curator of the department of photographs at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and Erin O'Toole, associate curator of photography at SFMOMA. New curatorial research undertaken for this project has enabled the first thorough review of the prints and proof sheets from Winogrand's complete working life.

Published by SFMOMA in association with Yale University Press, the 464-page fully illustrated exhibition catalogue is available in softcover and hardcover. Five new essays and some 400 plates trace the artist's working methods and major themes, and create a collective portrait of Winogrand. The catalogue also serves as the most comprehensive volume on Winogrand to date and the first in-depth study of the artist's work, with essays by Rubinfien, Greenough, and O'Toole, as well as Sandra S. Phillips, senior curator of photography, SFMOMA, and Tod Papageorge, Walker Evans Professor of Photography, Yale University School of Art, and Winogrand's intimate friend, protégé, and sometime editor. Also included are a chronology and selected exhibitions and bibliography by Susan Kismaric, former curator of photography, Museum of Modern Art, New York.