This is the first exhibition of Winogrand’s work on the west coast since his death in March of 1984. Fraenkel Gallery is the exclusive representative of the Winogrand Estate, and over the last year and a half has been researching the body of work left by the photographer. The first result of this research is the present exhibition, bringing to light approximately forty images spanning a period of more than twenty-five years. Though often exhibited and highly respected during his lifetime (John Szarkowski of the Museum of Modern Art has referred to Winogrand as “the cultural photographer of his generation”) there are several important aspects of the photographer’s work that, for various reasons, are almost completely unknown.
Among the earliest photographs on view is a series Winogrand made at the El Morocco Club in New York, circa 1955. Winogrand’s concern with the nature of public gatherings, as well as his blatant obsession with female sexuality, is clearly expressed at an early point in his career within these photographs. (Those concerns would later be more fully investigated in his book Women are Beautiful, and Public Relations.) The photographs in the exhibition span Winogrand’s career, ending with two images made at the Los Angeles beach shortly before his death.
From the mid-fifties on, Winogrand’s personal “new documentary” photographs of the densely packed moments won him acclaim as an important chronicler of contemporary American life. In his photographs, both the world’s extraordinary complexity and the sharp, sensual delights of seeing are as evident as the obsessions of a particular man.
Winogrand’s career will be the subject of a comprehensive retrospective now being organized by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It is scheduled to open in March of 1988.