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(1923 – 1971), USA

Diane Arbus Biography

Diane Arbus was born in New York City in 1923. She began working in commercial photography in the mid 1940s and later opened a studio with her husband Allan Arbus. The fashion photography they created together was commissioned by leading fashion magazines such as Harpers Bazaar and Vogue. However by 1957 Diane Arbus was dissatisfied with the resultant commercial constraints and left their business to study under photographers Berenice Abbott and Lisette Model, as well as with the highly influential graphic designer Alexey Brodovitch. Her own work was first published by Esquire in 1960, in a photo essay which captured aspects of New York nightlife, which she called Vertical Journey. Arbus subsequently became the art director of Harpers Bazaar in 1961.

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In the early 1960s she moved from using a 35mm camera to a medium format Rolleiflex camera with a flashgun. This was a major influence on the development of her style and vision, which was characterised by a directness and fascination with people on the outskirts of society. This resulted in startling portraits of people (often very close up) considered in 1960s America, (for example, giants, dwarves and transvestites) to be freaks or outcasts. Much of her photography was captured on the streets or in the parks of New York.

She received the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 1963 and 1966. In 1967 she famously exhibited in the New Documents exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, New York- one of only three photographers to do so. She was the first American photographer to be included in the Venice Biennale (her work appeared posthumously, in 1972). Diane Arbus died in New York in 1971.

A major retrospective of her work was held at the Museum of Modern Art; from 1972 — 1975 that subsequently toured the United States and Canada. A full-scale retrospective entitled Revelations travelled to museums in Europe and the United States, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, London (2005—2006). Arbus's work appeared in Anthony d'Offay's Artist Rooms collection in 2009, presented by the National Museum Cardiff. Recently, a retrospective entitled Diane Arbus toured Europe 2011-2013, appearing at the Jeu de Paume, Paris; the Fotomuseum, Winterthur; Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin; and Foam, Amsterdam. Public collections of her work are held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Tate Modern, London; and Centre Pompidou, Paris.

Arbus's work has featured in major publications, such as: Diane Arbus (Aperture, 1972); Magazine Work (1984); Untitled (Aperture, 1995); Diane Arbus Revelations (Jonathan Cape, Random House, 2003); and Diane Arbus: A Chronology (Aperture, 2011).

Ocula | 2017

Diane Arbus Featured Artworks

Shrine of the black Madonna, Detroit, Mich. by Diane Arbus contemporary artwork
Diane ArbusShrine of the black Madonna, Detroit, Mich., 1970Vintage gelatin silver print
50.8 x 40.6 cm
Cheim & Read Contact Gallery
A HOUSE ON A HILL, HOLLYWOOD, CAL. by Diane Arbus contemporary artwork
Diane ArbusA HOUSE ON A HILL, HOLLYWOOD, CAL., 1963Gelatin silver print
50.8 x 40.6 cm
Cheim & Read Contact Gallery
An empty movie theater, N.Y.C by Diane Arbus contemporary artwork
Diane ArbusAn empty movie theater, N.Y.C, 1971Gelatin silver print
40.6 x 50.8 cm
Cheim & Read Contact Gallery
Jack Dracula, the Marked Man by Diane Arbus contemporary artwork
Diane ArbusJack Dracula, the Marked Man, 1961Vintage gelatin silver print
27.9 x 35.6 cm
Cheim & Read Contact Gallery
Woman with a veil on Fifth Avenue, N.Y.C. by Diane Arbus contemporary artwork
Diane ArbusWoman with a veil on Fifth Avenue, N.Y.C., 1968Gelatin silver print
20 x 16 inches
Cheim & Read Contact Gallery
A lobby in a building, N.Y.C. by Diane Arbus contemporary artwork
Diane ArbusA lobby in a building, N.Y.C., 1966Gelatin silver print
20 x 16 inches
Cheim & Read Contact Gallery
A castle in Disneyland, Cal. by Diane Arbus contemporary artwork
Diane ArbusA castle in Disneyland, Cal., 1962Gelatin silver print
20 x 16 inches
Cheim & Read Contact Gallery

Diane Arbus Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibiiton, Dwelling Is The Light at Timothy Taylor, London
Closed
15 April–15 May 2020 Group Exhibiiton Dwelling Is The Light Timothy TaylorOnline Only
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, American Pastoral at Gagosian, London
Closed
23 January–14 March 2020 Group Exhibition American Pastoral Gagosian, Britannia St, LondonBritannia Street, London
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, The Sylvio Perlstein Collection A Luta Continua at Hauser & Wirth, Hong Kong
Closed
23 May–27 July 2019 Group Exhibition The Sylvio Perlstein Collection A Luta Continua Hauser & Wirth, Hong KongHong Kong

Diane Arbus Represented By

David Zwirner contemporary art gallery in 19th Street, New York, USA David Zwirner New York, London, Paris, Hong Kong
Timothy Taylor contemporary art gallery in London, United Kingdom Timothy Taylor London, New York

Diane Arbus In Related Press

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The Evolution of Diane Arbus in 35mm Related Press The Evolution of Diane Arbus in 35mm 21 April 2017, Hyperallergic

In 1962, documentary photographer Diane Arbus switched from using a 35mm camera to a medium-format Rolleiflex, which offered higher resolution images in a distinctive square format. This equipment change coincided with developments in her practice that propelled her to international fame. Her work from the early 1960s through her death in 1971 is...

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Diane Arbus: In the beginning Related Press Diane Arbus: In the beginning 6 September 2016, Juxtapoz Magazine

'I do feel I have some slight corner on something about the quality of things. I mean, it’s very subtle and a little embarrassing to me, but I believe there are things which nobody would see unless I photographed them.' —Diane Arbus

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'The last taboo is the penis': John Cheim on 'The Female Gaze, Part II: Women Looking at Men' at Cheim & Read Related Press 'The last taboo is the penis': John Cheim on 'The Female Gaze, Part II: Women Looking at Men' at Cheim & Read 10 August 2016, ARTNews

The Female Gaze, Part II: Women Looking at Men,  a group show that runs at Cheim & Read through September 2, is as ambitious in scope as it is in ideology, showcasing work by a wide range of artists–including Tracey Emin, Alice Neel, Diane Arbus, and Jenny Holzer–who have applied a nontraditional lens to viewing and depicting...

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The start of Diane Arbus Related Press The start of Diane Arbus 8 August 2016, Whitewall

diane arbus: in the beginning  showcases a city explored within the years of 1956 and 1962. Framed images of a hauntingly provocative nature are displayed singularly on thin paneled walls. The work highlighted has never been seen before from photographer, and offer a telling glimpse of her budding career.

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Diane Arbus In Video & Audio

A Luta Continua. The Sylvio Perlstein Collection Related Video & Audio A Luta Continua. The Sylvio Perlstein Collection 8 May 2018, Hauser & Wirth

Unfolding across all three floors of Hauser & Wirth New York, 22 nd Street, A Luta Continua is the first United States presentation of the Sylvio Perlstein Collection. Curated by David Rosenberg, the exhibition presents more than 360 works by some 250 artists. Among these are Josef Albers, Carl Andre, Diane Arbus, Hans Bellmer, André...

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