Two Portfolios Helmut Newton / Garry Winogrand

November 2 - December 13, 2002

Garry Winogrand, Beverly Hills, California,
1978-80, from the portfolio
"Women are better than men.
Not only have they survived, they do prevail,"
gelatin silver print,
9 x 13 15/16 inches (image),
gift of Nola and Ronald Sher to the
permanent collection,
University Museum of Contemporary Art,
University of Massachusett, Amherst in 1982

 

 

Helmut Newton and Garry Winogrand: Two Portfolios presents a selection of photographs, chosen from the University Museum of Contemporary Art’s permanent collection, by each of these renowned photographers to be on view from November 2 through December 13.

Gallery visitors might find it interesting that the work of Newton was the subject of a retrospective at the International Center of Photography, New York, last year, and coincidentally enough, Winogrand’s work has received the very same honor this year. His retrospective will be on view at ICP, located at 1143 Avenue of the Americas, through December 1.

Helmut Newton (German, b. 1920) and Garry Winogrand (American, 1928-1984) were contemporaries who shared similar interests in black and white photography, the populist format of magazine publications, and women as subject matter each acknowledging a certain mystery about the female gender. But their respective aesthetics could not have been more different: Newton reveled in a cool and decadent sub-culture of a highly privileged world while Winogrand was fascinated by the familiarity of banal street dramas.

Helmut Newton
Helmut Newton, Charlotte Rampling, Arles,
1973, from the portfolio
"Helmut Newton: 15 Photographs,"
gelatin silver print, edition13/40,
12 15/16 x 8 1/ 4 inches (image),
gift of Robert F. Sutner in 1983 to the
permanent collection,
University Museum of Contemporary Art,
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
"What I find interesting is working in a society with certain taboos—and fashion photography is about that kind of society. To have taboos, then to get around them—that’s interesting," says Newton. He was drawn to photography as a boy growing up in a wealthy family in Berlin just before the war, a city that became stereotyped in such films as Blue Angel starring Marlene Dietrich. Newton’s older brother introduced him to this seamier aspect of Berlin and it is telling that his very first roll of film was shot along the station platforms of the city’s subway system. These memories along with the nostalgia of seeing Hollywood movies combined with Newton’s innate fascination with the darker side of sexuality. His mature artistic years began in 1952 when he started working for Vogue first in Australia, then in London, and finally in Paris where his work also appeared in Elle, Marie Claire, and later in Vanity Fair among others. At the basis of Newton’s images is the interplay of sex, high style, and wealth, a potent and evocative recipe for power.

In comparison to the carefully staged compositions of Newton, Garry Winogrand became famous for a tilted-format that emphasizes the casual and open-ended character of his images. Winogrand also began his career in the early 1950s as a stringer for a stock photographic agency and then quickly moved on to free-lance assignments for magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, Sports Illustrated, Red Book, and Colliers. This freedom allowed him to continue with work that truly occupied his interests—commonplace but ever-curious street scenes. "Most photographs are of life," said Winogrand, "what goes on in the world. And that’s boring, generally. Life is banal, you know….Well, that’s what’s interesting. There is a transformation, you see, when you just put four edges around it. That changes it. A new world is created….I photograph to find out what something will look like photographed."

A year before his death in 1984, Winogrand called the director at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona, Tucson, because he wanted to donate all of his photographic material to them. Readily accepted by the CCP, the Winogrand archive consists of 20,000 prints, 20,000 negatives, and thousands of contact sheets and slides that are still in the process of being catalogued.

The University Museum of Contemporary Art is very pleased to share examples of these two artists’ work with its audience. Please note that there will not be an opening reception for this exhibition. Our next set of exhibitions will open on February 1, 2003, with a reception on Friday, January 31 from 5 to 7 p.m.

 

 

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