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It was 1964 when Garry Winogrand, who would become one of the world's great photographers, captured a slice of American history -- a single year imprinted by the Vietnam war, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and race riots. On February 5, 2005, more than 100 images from this important collection will be shown at Nashville's Cheekwood Museum of Art.
Winogrand 1964, curated by Trudy Wilner Stack, and produced by the Center for Creative Photography, gives cohesive form to Garry Winogrand's America through a collection of photographs made in a single year, 1964. Taken together, these images depict the nation at a cultural crossroads, a superpower increasingly linked by mass consumerism and television, but still naive and quirky. (right: Gary Winogrand, Parking Garage and Car. Photo courtesy of Cheekwood Museum of Art )
In the year of Dr. Strangelove and the New York World's Fair, Winogrand searched for meaning in his work and the world it reflected: "I look at the pictures I have done up to now, " he wrote in 1963, "and they make me feel that who we are and what we feel and what is to become of us just doesn't matter... I cannot accept my conclusions, and so I must continue this photographic investigation further and deeper."
Garry Winogrand (1928-1984) was a native New Yorker whose photography of public life epitomized the indigenous pulse and social complexity of the urban scene after World War II.
In 1964, with the support of the first of three Guggenheim fellowships, he traveled for four months to fourteen states and recorded an America in transition, making some of his most famous photographs, many of which were shown in The Museum of Modern Art's pivotal 1967 exhibition New Documents.
Part of that selection remained unpublished and relatively unknown until now, as did over a hundred more new images culled from Winogrand's vast archive at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
Winogrand published four books of photographs, including The Animals in 1969, images made in zoos, and Women Are Beautiful in 1975. Using a small-format, 35mm camera, he was able to photograph quickly and freely. At the time of his death in 1984, he left more than 2,500 undeveloped rolls of film. (left: Gary Winogrand, Women Essay. Photo courtesy of Cheekwood Museum of Art )
Winogrand never posed his subjects -- such as vacationers relaxing poolside atLake Tahoe, people taking pictures at football games or the "grassy knoll" in Dallas, a woman afloat in a luminous pool shot from above.
"While his photographs steal their look from the snapshot," says Cheekwood Associate Curator Terri Smith, "Winogrand's compositions are very deliberate. His artistic arsenal is not stocked with the dramatic events of the era, but the subtleties most of us miss such as the melancholy tilt of a head, the humorous similarity between real life and advertising, and the way a car window can serve as a picture frame. Winogrand is one of those artists who help us really see the world in which we live."
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