His famous quote, that "there is nothing as mysterious as a fact clearly described," speaks to both the allure and the central lie of his (and indeed all) photography. Although he began his career as a photojournalist, his main contribution was visual poetry over raw documentation. The tone of Winogrand's later work, during which he focused on taking rather than developing or reviewing his photographs, is shot through with distress and disillusionment, as if the world imploded and dissolved completely somewhere around 1977. That late work, long ignored and incompletely catalogued, is featured here, and feels increasingly familiar and prescient.
On the second floor of the museum, the Lebbeus Woods retrospective offers a tonal break from the intense scrutiny of human interaction exhibited by the Marclay and Winogrand shows, but is no less sweeping or meticulous. Woods was a visionary architect of the possible, and although only one of his large scale projects was ever constructed, his psychologically-charged, intellectually-overloaded vision continues to reverberate throughout architecture and design worlds.
The show of 175 works, including models, drawings, and prints, is framed roughly by the Woods quote, "Maybe I can show what could happen if we lived by a different set of rules." In the Woods universe, those rules bend physics and gravity for the sake of a complete reimagining of human-built structures. Part sci-fi, part utopian thought-experiment, the carefully and expertly drafted renderings of Woods' theoretical architectural systems are as dizzyingly hypnotic as they are confounding to normal, run-of-the mill concepts of what a building is or should be.
CHRISTIAN MARCLAY: THE CLOCK
April 6-June 2
LEBBEUS WOODS, ARCHITECT
Through June 2
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
151 Third St, SF www.sfmoma.org