Exhibition Paper-Megan McGrain

Megan McGrain

Exhibition Paper: Garry Winogrand

Denver Art Museum


“Women are Beautiful” 

“I photograph to find out what something looks like photographed” said Garry Winogrand. Garry is an American artist that was born in 1928 and died in 1984, and he uses his experimentations with photography to challenge the viewer to experience reality in different lights. Garry uses photography to celebrate ordinary life and people in his works, and began doing exhibitions in the 1980s. Garry had always been intrigued by photography but began his art career in painting. 

Garry Winogrand currently has an exhibition at the Denver Art Museum with his past photography. This collection of photographs are candid shots of women in New York City around the year of 1975. The collection of roughly 50 photographs are uniformed in size, and are all depicted in black and white shots. The women shown in each photograph are real women living in their daily lives. This candid capturing of random women in 1975 offers us, the public, an honest time capsule into a window of a different time. I personally feel that a piece like this will only get stronger through time.

The first piece that spoke to me was, “Woman Carrying Bags, One in Hot Pants” in 1975 by Winogrand. This photograph is of a woman walking down the street in New York with her bags, looking off into the distance. The title incapsulates the image perfectly and simply. The woman wears an elegant headscarf and appears poised even though she is bogged down by the bags she is carrying. This photograph was appealing to me because of it charming nature and flirtatiousness.

The second image that I was drawn to was, “Histrionics on Bench” from 1975 as well. This is a very charged image, there is so much energy from all of the people sitting on the bench together. The women are photographed in their typical 1970s attire communicating to each other with much enthusiasm. When looking at the photograph one looks back and forth from face to face, trying to imagine what is being said between these women.

The last image I want to address is “Dancing at Party, Woman in Many Buttoned Dress and Balding Man in Tuxedo.” This title is the most pure and appropriate one I could think of for this 1975 gelatin silver print. This is most likely my favorite photograph, the dance floor of this event is where the photograph takes place. There are most likely many other photographs like this one other people took from this night as well, but taking this semi-ordinary photograph and placing it up on a gallery wall in the honor of women is refreshing. The woman is dancing with caution, as the nearly bald man dances his heart out near by. This action shot is charming and pleasing. This image makes you wonder what everyone was thinking, who were they dancing with? What song were they dancing too?

In Conclusion, I felt like the exhibition “Women are beautiful” pays homage to the everyday woman in the most simple way. These photographs are innocent and noninvasive ways to drawing the human eye to these everyday women that we may not always notice in our lives. The stills are valuable representations of the 1970s woman living in new york. I feel like from the 50 photographs, a modern day woman can identify at least one photograph in the gallery space. As a woman, I identified with these three photographs and their storytelling abilities.

4 Responses

  1. Thank you for presenting this exhibition to the rest of us just as you described it…innocent and noninvasive, simple and everyday. You captured the essence of the exhibition and with your combination of pictures and narrative were able to have it come alive for your readers. WOMEN ARE BEAUTIFUL gracefully unfolded in my mind’s eye as I scanned and absorbed the works and vision presented in your paper and and your careful descriptive analysis of the pictures.

  2. I liked the inclusion of the photographs, and wish you had done more than 3 because I enjoyed your discussion so much! And combined with the detailed narrative, it made the exhibit so interesting and charming. The women shown really exemplify a time and place, and the simple black and white photographs really capture the candid aspect of Garry Wingards work.

  3. I also loved your descriptions and how you were thinking about the identities of the people photographed. It really does speak to how women really are beautiful without posing to be beautiful in front of a camera….to how they don’t even need to try. What a respect the artist has for women. I really enjoyed reading this paper, especially because you chose an exhibit that was unique, and not one that everyone else was doing.

  4. I visited this exhibit recently and agree with you on many of the points you made. I thought it was awesome how the artist drew people into the everyday woman as well and that it was great how he acknowledged such beauty in these women.

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