This landmark exhibition will feature more than 100 photographs that together redefine Diane Arbus (American, 1923–1971), one of the most influential and provocative artists of the 20th century. It will focus on the first seven years of her career, from 1956 to 1962, the period in which she developed the idiosyncratic style and approach for which she has been recognized praised, criticized, and copied the world over.
Arbus made most of her photographs in New York City, where she lived and died, and where she worked in locations such as Times Square, the Lower East Side, and Coney Island. Her photographs of children and eccentrics, couples and circus performers, female impersonators and Fifth Avenue pedestrians are among the most intimate and surprising images of the era.
The majority of the photographs in the exhibition have never before been seen and are part of the Museum's Diane Arbus Archive, acquired in 2007 by gift and promised gift from the artist's daughters, Doon Arbus and Amy Arbus. It was only when the archive came to The Met that this remarkable early work came to be fully explored. Arbus's creative life in photography after 1962 is well documented and already the stuff of legend; now, for the first time, we can properly examine its origins.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website
Whether you go or not, the exhibition catalog, diane arbus: in the beginning, showcases more than 100 of the artist’s early photographs, more than half of which are published here for the first time. The book is the definitive study of the artist’s first seven years of work, from 1956 to 1962, and provides a crucial, in-depth presentation of her genesis, showing Arbus as she developed her evocative and often haunting imagery. The photographs featured in this handsome volume reveal an artist defining her style, honing her subject matter, and in full possession of the many gifts for which she is now recognized the world over. Arbus' photographs of children and eccentrics, couples and circus performers, female impersonators and nudists, are among the most recognizable images of our time.