Panel to Discuss Garry Winogrand’s Photos From ‘Women Are Beautiful’

Oct. 16 event at UC Riverside will examine photographer’s most controversial work

“Woman on Telephone” from the series “Women Are Beautiful,” 1975 ©The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco Photo by Garry Winogrand

Riverside, Calif. — A panel of artists, curators and women’s studies scholars will discuss photographer Garry Winogrand’s most controversial work in the panel discussion “Rethinking Winogrand: Sally Stein, Connie Hatch, and Marguerite Waller in conversation,” to be held at the UCR ARTSblock, 3824 Main Street, Riverside, on Wednesday, Oct. 16, at 5 p.m.

Widely acknowledged as one of the most important photographers of the 20th century, Winogrand shot the 85 images that would form his second book, “Women Are Beautiful,” in the ’60s and ’70s. Published in 1975, it was his least popular project. He initially struggled to find a publisher for the collection, which was deemed too sexist even for Playboy to produce.

On display at the California Museum of Photography (CMP) until Oct. 26, the exhibit “Confessions* of a male chauvinist pig: Rethinking Winogrand’s Women” reconsiders the collection, placing it in the context of the turbulent 1960s, at the nexus of gender relations. It is also the title of an illustrated, 116-page compilation of essays, edited by Susan Laxton, assistant professor in the history of art, and published by UCR ARTSblock.

The CMP exhibition, accompanying publication, and panel discussion all grew out of a seminar taught by Laxton, who proposed that the CMP exhibit the portfolio of 85 photographs, which is part of the museum collection. “Confessions* of a male chauvinist pig” was produced by the CMP in close collaboration with the art history department, with help from 10 graduate students in the Departments of Art, History of Art, and Public History under Laxton’s guidance.

Sally Stein, professor emeritus of art history at UC Irvine; Connie Hatch, artist and faculty at CalArts; and Marguerite Waller, professor and chair of women’s studies at UCR will join student curators Leslie Paprocki, Nicolette Rohr and Carolyn Schutten on Oct. 16 to discuss Winogrand’s controversial images of women in light of the charged sexual politics of the historical moment.

A renewed interest in Winogrand’s work has developed due to a major retrospective held at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art earlier this year. Now traveling through major cities around the world, it also provides the context needed to understand the CMP exhibition.

“As a university museum, the CMP envisions itself as a stage for experimentation,” says Joanna Szupinska-Myers, CMP’s curator of exhibitions. “The folio has been widely dismissed as his most problematic project, so we thought it was a provocative proposal to focus on this group of images in particular.”

Szupinska-Myers adds that implicit in the decision of focusing on “Women Are Beautiful” is an argument that this body of work is valuable and ought to be reconsidered.

“Rather than excusing ‘Women Are Beautiful’ as a misguided or tone-deaf project — sweeping it under the rug like a dirty secret — in their considered installation and thoughtful writing about the photographs, the curators approach this body of work with critical and complex readings that inherently advocate equal respect for ‘Women Are Beautiful’ as is warranted by Winogrand’s other projects.

“After almost 40 years, Laxton and the other curators seem to be asserting that we should be able to look critically at these pictures without dismissing them.”

The event was made possible by support from the Departments of Art, Art History, History, Public History, and Women’s Studies at UCR; as well as the Culver Arts Research Laboratory, the Center for Ideas and Society, and the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts. 

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-2645

Additional Contacts

Joanna Szupinska-Myers
Tel: (951) 827-4788

Archived under: Arts/Culture, , , , ,

Top of Page