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Diane Arbus: Revelations (英語) ハードカバー – 2003/9/30
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Diane Arbus redefined the concerns and the range of the art she practiced. Her bold subject matter and photographic approach have established her preeminence in the world of the visual arts. Her gift for rendering strange those things we consider most familiar, and uncovering the familiar within the exotic, enlarges our understanding of ourselves.
Diane Arbus Revelations affords the first opportunity to explore the origins, scope, and aspirations of what is a wholly original force in photography. Arbus’s frank treatment of her subjects and her faith in the intrinsic power of the medium have produced a body of work that is often shocking in its purity, in its steadfast celebration of things as they are. Presenting many of her lesser-known or previously unpublished photographs in the context of the iconic images reveals a subtle yet persistent view of the world.
The book reproduces two hundred full-page duotones of Diane Arbus photographs spanning her entire career, many of them never before seen. It also includes an essay, “The Question of Belief,” by Sandra S. Phillips, senior curator of photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and “In the Darkroom,” a discussion of Arbus’s printing techniques by Neil Selkirk, the only person authorized to print her photographs since her death. A 104-page Chronology by Elisabeth Sussman, guest curator of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art show, and Doon Arbus, the artist’s eldest daughter, illustrated by more than three hundred additional images and composed mainly of previously unpublished excerpts from the artist’s letters, notebooks, and other writings, amounts to a kind of autobiography. An Afterword by Doon Arbus precedes biographical entries on the photographer’s friends and colleagues by Jeff L. Rosenheim, associate curator of photographs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. These texts help illuminate the meaning of Diane Arbus’s controversial and astonishing vision.
I want to photograph the considerable ceremonies of our present because we tend while living here and now to perceive only what is random and barren and formless about it. While we regret that the present is not like the past and despair of its ever becoming the future, its innumerable inscrutable habits lie in wait for their meaning...These are our symptoms and our monuments. I want simply to save them, for what is ceremonious and curious and commonplace will be legendary.
Diane Arbus–born Diane Nemerov in New York City in 1923–first began taking pictures in the early 1940s following her marriage to Allan Arbus. She studied photography with Berenice Abbott, Alexey Brodovitch, and Lisette Model. Her first published photographs appeared in Esquire in 1960. Over the next ten years her work continued to appear in Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, and other magazines.
In 1963 and 1966 she was awarded John Simon Guggenheim Fellowships. She was one of three photographers whose work was the focus of New Documents, a 1967 exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art. In 1970 Arbus made a portfolio of prints entitled A box of ten photographs, which was to be the first of a series of similar limited editions of her work. She taught photography in the late sixties at Parsons School of Design, Rhode Island School of Design, and Cooper Union, and, in 1971, gave a private master class at the artists’ cooperative where she lived.
A year after her death in 1971, her work was selected for inclusion at the Venice Biennale–the first work of an American photographer to be so honored. The Museum of Modern Art hosted a major retrospective that traveled throughout the United States and Canada from 1972 to 1975. The three books of her work, Diane Arbus: An Aperture Monograph (1972), Diane Arbus: Magazine Work (1984), and Untitled: Diane Arbus (1995), were published posthumously and have remained continuously in print. Diane Arbus Revelations, in conjunction with the first major international retrospective of her work in thirty years, is the only comprehensive and intimate study of this singularly daring photographic artist.
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The selection of her photographs is comprehensive and well organized as you would expect from her estate which owns them all. No doubt the Fraenkel Gallery near SFMOMA had a lot to do with the quality of the show and book. Read it before you attend the show and you will learn a lot even if you've never heard of her.
Coupled with the detailed chronology of her life, the images give a clear picture of a character which has been obscured by mythology and rumor for 30 years. I am not a fan of Diane Arbus (and certainly not a detractor) but I gained a lot of respect for her as an artist as I read her notes and quotes about her own work.
If you are looking for a biography of a brave young woman artist in the mid-twentieth century, this one is good. It is thorough and not editorialized with adjulation. The only gratuitious facts that I would have left out are the cold details of her death in the coroner's reports at the end of the book. Yet I get the impression this is the way she would have wanted it. This is the book she would have written. Absent some equal scholarship to the contrary, this is the truth about Diane Arbus.
Nor will I forget her self portrait, naked pregnant, in this latest volume. So much. So much. This is the volume Arbus lovers have been waiting for. Printed in Germany, beautifully bound, positively packed with images, diary entries, extracts from letters, comment. A bargain.
Like most brilliant artists, she was troubled and was not happy with her life. She took her life at a relatively young age, before she could see the modern world, reflected from her early photographs. It is a pity, but we are lucky to have the photographs of Diane Arbus live on.