Monday, January 28, 2013

death and the artist

San Francisco MOMA is having a (posthumous, of course) exhibition of Garry Winogrand photography. Read about it here. Winogrand, considered one of the pre-eminent street photographers of the 20th century, died in 1984, leaving behind thousands of rolls of undeveloped film and thousands more unedited images. SFMOMA has selected some 300 images to print for its upcoming exhibit. I admire Winogrand's work greatly and of course I understand the excitement and enthusiasm about bringing some of these "lost" treasures to light for public exhibition. But I have to wonder, is it right? Now I have no idea what instructions if any Winogrand may have left with regard to his work. Perhaps there are those out there who are well positioned to make educated guesses as to his artistic intent - which images he himself might have chosen, how he would have wanted them printed, sequenced and exhibited. It just doesn't quite sit right with me. Sometimes maybe we just have to be satisfied with the gift of the works produced when an artist was alive. That there are fragments or embryos of works frozen in time is perhaps just part of the great bittersweet tragicomedy of life and art.

London Bus Stop from Women are Beautiful, 1967 Garry Winogrand

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