The first retrospective in 25 years of work by artist Garry Winogrand—renowned photographer of New York City and of American life from the 1950s through the early 1980s —will debut at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) in spring of 2013. Jointly organized by SFMOMA and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, Garry Winogrand is 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 will work closely on the project with Erin O’Toole, assistant curator of photography at SFMOMA; and Sarah Greenough, senior curator of photographs at the National Gallery of Art.
The exhibition will be on view at SFMOMA from March 9 through May 31, 2013, before traveling to the National Gallery of Art, Washington (March 2 through June 8, 2014); the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (June through September 2014); the Jeu de Paume, Paris (October 2014 through January 2015); and the Fundacion MAPFRE, Madrid (March through June 2015).
Though widely recognized as one of the preeminent photographers of the 20th century, Winogrand’s work remains largely unexplored and incompletely published. He photographed with dazzling energy and a voracious appetite—exposing over 25,000 rolls of film—but largely postponed the printing and editing his work. During the artist’s lifetime he published just five modest books that contain only a fraction of his prodigious body of work. In his later years he spoke of reviewing and reediting all of his photographs, but died prematurely and abruptly, leaving behind more than 6,000 rolls of film (almost 250,000 images) that he had never seen, as well as proof sheets from his earlier years with numerous photographs he had marked but never printed.
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, and will reveal to the public for the first time the full breadth of his art through more than 200 photographs. Roughly half of those have never been seen publicly; close to 100 have never before been printed.
One of the first museums to recognize photography as a legitimate art form and to establish a photography collection as early as 1935, SFMOMA continues to spearhead the scholarship and presentation of photography with this important exhibition.
Winogrand began to work as a photographer while a student at Columbia University at the end of the 1940s, at first supplying images to a number of general-interest magazines that were then at the height of their power and reach. His career was further shaped by the decline of those magazines and the rise of a new culture and business of photography centered in the art world. Winogrand is most often recalled for his work from the eruptive 1960s, which combines a sense of buoyancy with a powerful anxiety and evokes a nation that shines with possibility yet also threatens to spin out of control. In addition to presenting many of his best-known photographs from the 1960s, the exhibition will give significant attention to his work from the 1950s, the 1970s, and his years in Los Angeles from 1979 to just before his death in 1984.
In conjunction with the retrospective, SFMOMA will publish a catalogue with essays by Rubinfien; Sandra S. Phillips, senior curator of photography, SFMOMA; Sarah Greenough, senior curator of photographs, National Gallery of Art; Erin O’Toole, assistant curator of photography, SFMOMA; Jeff L. Rosenheim, curator of photography, Metropolitan Museum of Art; and Tod Papageorge, professor of art, Yale University, and one of Winogrand’s closest friends.
Garry Winogrand is coorganized by SFMOMA and the National Gallery of Art. Major support for the exhibition is provided by Randi and Bob Fisher, The Henry Luce Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.