Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Diane Arbus (1923-1971)

Photo: Dean Gallery Grounds, PQ.

"A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know." (Diane Arbus)

Visit Artist Rooms, National Gallery of Scotland

Born Diane Nemerov
Her family owned a successful NY department store. Her father retired early from business to become a painter. Her brother was a published poet and the US Poet Laureate 1963-4.
Aged 18 marries Allan Arbus
Two daughters: born in ‘45 and ‘54.
Seperated from Arbus 1958, divorced 1969.
Visits Steiglitz’s gallery “The Place”.
Takes advertising photos for the family dept store.
Husband a U.S. Army Signal Corps photographer
Establishes "Diane & Allan Arbus," photo studio.
Takes many fashion photos at this time and one photo that was selected by Steichen for the Family of Man exhibition 1955
Diane stops working in the business. She takes classes with Lisette Model and does photo assignments for magazines.
Switches from 35 mm to 2 ¼ inch twin-lens Rolleiflex camera.
awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for a project on "American rites, manners, and customs"
Renewal of Guggenheim Fellowship
First use of TLR Mamiya camera with flash
During the 1960s, she taught photography at the Parsons School of Design and the Cooper Union in New York City, and the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island.
Museum of Modern Art  "New Documents" curated by John Szarkowski
Also included work by Garry Winogrand and Lee Friedlander.
Venice Biennale
MoMa with the accompanying Diane Arbus: an Aperture Monograph)
Susan Sontag writes “Freak Show”, re-printed in On Photography as the chapter America, Seen Through Photographs, Darkly.
“It is obviously too easy to say that America is just a freak show, a wasteland -  the cut rate pessimism typical of  the reduction of the real to the surreal. But the American partiality to myths of redemption and damnation remains one of the most energizing most seductive aspects of our national culture. What we have left of Whitman’s discredited dream of cultural revolution are paper ghosts and a sharp eyed witty program of despair.”

Unauthorized biography by Patricia Bosworth. No participation by family or friends.
Diane Arbus Revelations, book and exhibit with first approved chronology of Arbus’s work and life
Moma makes large Arbus purchase and receives archive material from family.
Artist Rooms: Edinburgh till 13th June; Nottingham Contemporary 24/7-26/9/10
See Artist Rooms, on tour with the Art Fund.

"Nothing is ever the same as they said it was."

Diane Arbus Revelations, Jonathan Cape, London, 2003;  
Diane Arbus, Aperture, New York, 1997 (2nd edition);  
Diane Arbus Magazine Work, Aperture, New York, 1984.

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