Garry Winogrand: Modern Perspectives
Garry Winogrand (1928–1984), with his 35mm Leica camera, took to the streets of New York. Through his lens he captured the spirit of life, fashion, and energy of the city in the 1960s and 70s in thousands of black and white photographic images. Winogrand’s work has had an impact on the way street photography is perceived today and stylistic aspects of his viewpoint have had a lasting influence on the genre as well as others such as modern fashion photography. This exhibition features works from Winogrand’s acclaimed series Women are Beautiful and presents several modern themes identified throughout the series; street photography, fashion, the spirit of the 1960s and 70s, and meditations on the gaze. This exhibition considers Winogrand’s lasting influence on American photography and takes a critical look at its modern impact.
Winogrand’s images were created during the height of street photography—a genre lauded for its ability to capture recognizable human behavior and the fast-paced nature of urban life—in New York alongside other major photographers like Joel Meyerowitz (born 1938) and Lee Friedlander (born 1934). Artists were drawn to this style of photography because of the sense of immediacy achieved by astute observation and the fast-paced nature of the style, which often resulted in subjects who were captured without their knowledge or permission.
The series Women are Beautiful was first published as a monograph in 1975 and includes 85 images of women that encapsulate fashions, energy, and attitudes of the 1960s and 1970s. Winogrand said of this series, “Whenever I’ve seen an attractive woman, I’ve done my best to photograph her. I don’t know if all the women in the photographs are beautiful, but I do know that the women are beautiful in the photographs.” Holland Cotter of The New York Times noted that although many of the photographs “slide off the eye,” the show is still engrossing as it captures a historical moment through Winogrand’s own specific lens.
Organized by Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Garry Winogrand: Modern Perspectives is co-curated by Erin Dziedzic, director of curatorial affairs at Kemper Museum, and Taylor Carr-Howard, Kemper Museum 2017–2018 curatorial intern.