Women are Beautiful. Garry Winogrand

During the sixties, Garry Winogrand documented the social transformation that brought about the change in attitude among women, based on a deep exercise of freedom. With these photographs, in 1975 he published "Women are Beautiful", whose 85 black and white images make up this exhibition. Lola Garrido Collection.


  • 2022 November 12th - 2023 January 29th
  • From Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 a.m. - 19:00 p.m.
    - December 6th and 8th, opened
    - December 21st, 24th and 31st, 10:00 a.m. - 14:00 p.m.
    - December 25th, January 1st and 20th, closed
  • Tickets: 6€ (special price: 3€)
  • Tuesday: free entry

women portada


The English poet Philip Larkin wrote, "Sexual intercourse began/In nineteen sixty-three". In that annus mirabilis, which gave the poem its title, two million copies were sold of Lady Chatterley's Lover, the scandalous novel by DH Lawrence, and The Beatles released Please Please Me, their second LP. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, they weren't far behind. Betty Friedan, a psychologist, housewife and mother of three children, who supplemented her husband's salary writing articles in women's magazines, published The Feminine Mystique. In less than a year, during the last gasps of the baby boom, and with the contraceptive pill now available from clinics, the subversive non-fiction book exceeded a million sales. It shed light on the dissatisfaction –and its effects– of many women faced with the prospect of seeing their aspirations reduced to the glorified life of the housewife, the attentive secretary, the devoted teacher or a self-sacrificing nurse. "Is this all?" wrote Friedan. The question was in the air. The second wave of feminism and the sexual revolution had only just begun.

Women are Beautiful 01
Women are Beautiful 02
Women are Beautiful 03

That call to escape the domestic trap was felt on the streets, where women began to smash clichés. This did not escape the quick and attentive gaze of Garry Winogrand, used to framing the uproar of the moment, the unpredictable theatre of the city. Using a wide-angled lens mounted on a Leica and with his unequalled voraciousness, this Jewish photographer, born in 1928 and raised in the Bronx, traversed the avenues of New York ready to put his ingenuity to the test. "I photograph to find out what something will look like photographed," he said.

In this way, between 1960 and 1975, he shaped a unique document, reflecting the feelings of a series of secure, free, rebellious, sensitive, joyful and beautiful women. Yes, beautiful. "Women are Beautiful is a good title for this book because they are," wrote the photographer in an introductory text within the monograph published in 1975. The female figure seemed to have become one of the most interesting of the time, and there was the instinctive photographer to capture the manifestation of a revolution presenting itself spontaneously before his camera.

When I'm photographing, I see life. That's what I deal with.

The book gathered 85 pictures. The same ones presented in this exhibition, derived from the Lola Garrido Collection. The monograph, published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, was edited by the photographer himself. The publication was controversial. It stirred up the criticism, which is still active, of some feminist sectors who criticised the photographer for "objectifying" and "exploiting" women. However, if Winogrand's women are beautiful, it's precisely because they occupy their own space; they own it, they are not its victims. Clothed, they bathe in a fountain in daylight; they go out to parties dressed as a winged creature with an Amazonian chest; they walk along with a cigarette gripped between their lips; they whisper to each other on benches; they read beneath the shade of a tree; they dance and enjoy looking after their children. Knowing what they hide, they decide what to show. In short, they live. Something that was very seductive for one of the sharpest gazes of his era when it came to transforming the most trivial scene into a powerful affirmation of the form. Through carefully tilted frames which change the city's rhythms, the photographer generated another type of emotion, capable of drawing new meanings from existence. "When I'm photographing, I see life. That's what I deal with," he stated.

The freedom and freshness with which Winogrand resolved to rewrite photographic language, led to John Swarzoswki (director of photography at MoMA New York) referring to him as the most important photographer of his generation.

Winogrand "had a special affection for those of his photographs that were almost out of control; photographs in which form triumphed over chaos were precarious. He believed that a good photographer had to be more interesting than the photographed object, but he didn't photograph anything that didn't interest him as a fact of life. Success –the vitality and energy of the best photographers– came from the anarchic demands of life and the will to create," wrote John Szarkowski, the legendary director of photography of the New York Museum of Modern Art. The freedom and freshness with which the artist resolved to rewrite photographic language, through a gaze which was an ironic and compassionate, led to the curator referring to him as the most important photographer of his generation.

For Winogrand, photography is mute; one does not know for certain what is really happening. His responsibility as a photographer consists of "describing well" within a frame which does not offer answers. A frame expressing the human comedy through disconcerting questions and plentiful and wonderful contradictions. Thus, anyone looking at his work wants to know what is going to happen next.

Gloria Crespo MacLennan

Accessible texts

In order to make the exhibition accessible for people with visual disbility, it is possible to download its texts on mobile phones, thanks to the collaboration with Begiris association.

Conference (in Spanish)

20 de diciembre: La trilateral del gusto. Aproximación al coleccionismo y la economía del arte, Lola Garrido.






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