El Morocco was one of New York's hottest nightclubs in the 1950s—a perfect site for Garry Winogrand to test his talents as a street-smart photographer working for "Harper's Bazaar," "Collier's," "Pageant," and "Sports Illustrated." Like his earlier pictures of the prizefighter Floyd Patterson in the ring, this photograph of a couple dancing explodes the idea of the snapshot. Focusing on his subjects' telling responses (here the face and hands revealing a ferocious animal spirit), Winogrand introduced a new, exceedingly confrontational style of 35mm photography. Direct, invasive, yet intuitively choreographed, this approach soon placed the artist alongside Robert Frank as one of the preeminent street photographers of the day.
Inscription: Printed MoMA exhibition label affixed to mount, verso, with additions in type and pencil: "FIVE UNRELATED PHOTOGRAPHERS 1963 // MUSEUM OF MODERN ART // 11 WEST 53RD STREET, NEW YORK 19, N.Y. // ARTIST: GARRY WINOGRAND American // born 1928 // TITLE: 29. El Morocco 1955 // (Couple dancing; girl laughing) // MEDIUM: Lent by the Photographer // MUSEUM NO: STORAGE SPACE: // COLLECTION OF PHOTOGRAPHS // GN.1.832.Y 7398.118 [crossed out in pencil] 88.244"; printed MoMA exhibition label affixed to mount, verso, with additions in type: "Museum of Modern Art // LOAN // 63.1021 // Winogrand"
Estate of Garry Winogrand
Szarkowski included 45 photographs by Winogrand in the 1963 Five Unrelated Photographers exhibition. The other artists were: Ken Heyman, George Krause, Jerome Liebling, and Minor White. A total of 160 photographs were shown. See MMA 1992.5125 for a contact sheet which includes this image.