The first retrospective in twenty-five years of work by Garry Winogrand (1928–1984)—the renowned photographer of New York City and of American life from the 1950s through the early 1980s—this exhibition brings together more than 175 of the artist's most iconic images, a trove of unseen prints, and even Winogrand's famed series of photos made at the Metropolitan Museum in 1969 when the Museum celebrated its centennial. It offers a rigorous overview of Winogrand's complete working life and reveals for the first time the full sweep of his career.
Born in the Bronx, Winogrand did much of his best-known work in Manhattan during the 1960s, and in both the content of his photographs and his artistic style he became one of the principal voices of that eruptive decade. Known primarily as a street photographer, Winogrand, who is often associated with famed contemporaries Diane Arbus and Lee Friedlander, photographed with dazzling energy and incessant appetite, exposing some twenty thousand rolls of film in his short lifetime. He photographed business moguls, everyday women on the street, famous actors and athletes, hippies, politicians, soldiers, animals in zoos, rodeos, car culture, airports, and antiwar demonstrators and the construction workers who beat them bloody in view of the unmoved police. Daily life in postwar America—rich with new possibility and yet equally anxious, threatening to spin out of control—seemed to unfold for him in a continuous stream.
While Winogrand is widely considered one of the greatest photographers of the twentieth century, his overall body of work and influence on the field remain incompletely explored. He was enormously prolific but largely postponed the editing and printing of his work. The act of taking pictures was far more fulfilling to Winogrand than making prints or editing for books and exhibitions; he often allowed others to perform these tasks for him. Dying suddenly at the age of 56, he left behind proof sheets from his earlier years that he had marked but never printed, as well as approximately 6,600 rolls of film (some 250,000 images) that he had never seen, more than one-third of which he had never developed at all; these rolls of film were developed after his death.
"The whole world is now filled with incredible images—especially on Instagram and other social networks—that owe something to Winogrand's, documenting life, change, and all the rest."—New York Magazine
"Big and meaty, the show is full of sharp observations, small revelations, and not a little despair."—New Yorker
"His pictures of postwar American streets...can work like visual smelling salts."—Vanity Fair
The exhibition is organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the National Gallery of Art, Washington. The international tour is sponsored by the Terra Foundation for American Art. Leadership support is provided by Randi and Bob Fisher.
Additional support is provided by the Blavatnik Family Foundation and The Daniel and Estrellita Brodsky Foundation.