Diane Arbus: “Essential Mysteries (Excerpt)” (2011)

One of Arbus’s last series of photographs was of the institutionalized mentally retarded, whom she found “the strangest combination of grownup and child” she’d ever seen.   By William Todd Schultz, excerpt from An Emergency in Slow Motion: The Inner Life of Diane Arbus, 2011 Essential Mysteries One of photographer Diane Arbus’s first pictures, she […]

Diane Arbus MoMA Exhibition Wall Label Text (1972)

She was not a theorist but an artist. Her concern was not to buttress philosophical questions but to make pictures.   By John Szarkowski, Director, Department of Photography, NY MoMA Diane Arbus’s pictures challenge the basic assumptions on which most documentary photography has been thought to rest, for they deal with private rather than social […]

“On Diane Arbus and Eugene Smith” (1977)

Masked woman in a wheelchair, PA, 1970 By Robert Coles, Wellesley College, 1977 I have an intense dislike for Diane Arbus. I don’t like her photographs and I don’t like the cult that’s been made of them. Maybe it’s because I’m a psychiatrist, because some part of me feels that that’s wrong, that that isn’t […]

Notes from the Margin of Spoiled Identity – The Art of Diane Arbus (1988)

“I always thought of photography as a naughty thing to do, that was one of my favourite things about it, and when I first did it, I felt very perverse.” – Diane Arbus   By Gerry Badger, Originally Published in Phototexts, 1988 The principal issue raised by the remarkable photographs of Diane Arbus seems not […]

William Gedney: Journal Entries on Kentucky, Sex and Diane Arbus

  “There are two ways of looking at a thing. Either you feel that a thing must be perfect before you present it to the public, or you are willing to let it go out even knowing that it is not perfect, because you are striving for something even beyond what you have achieved, but […]

DIANE ARBUS: “V&A’s Diane Arbus ‘Revelations’ Q&A” (2005)

This is an abridged transcript of an online chat session, hosted by V&A Photography Curator Martin Barnes, which took place on Friday 21 October 2005. 2005-10-21 13:56:23 VAModerator Welcome to the V&A’s Diane Arbus Revelations chatroom. Photography Curator Martin Barnes is here to answer as many of your questions as he can. 2005-10-21 13:57:42 MartinBarnes […]

TATE MODERN: “Cruel and Tender” (2003)

Young Couple in Parked Open-Air Car, Ossining, New York 1932-34 By Carter Radcliff, Originally Published in Tate Magazine, Issue 5, 2003 In 1932, Walker Evans photographed a young couple in a roadster parked at the curb in a small town somewhere in America. The top is down, giving the photographer and his subjects direct views […]

Surface Tensions: Judith Butler on Diane Arbus (2004)

Two men dancing at a drag ball, N.Y.C. 1970. By Judith Butler, ArtForum, February, 2004 The Diane Arbus exhibition “Revelations,” currently (2004) showing at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, is not difficult to attend. The crowds that circled the block to see the major Marc Chagall exhibition earlier this fall are now quite […]

Diane Arbus (1991)

It is hard now to remember what all the upset was about when they were new; hard to remember, for example, that when the Museum of Modern Art mounted an Arbus retrospective a year after her death, there were some viewers among the teeming crowds pressing into the museum to gawk at the freaks who […]

On Lisette Model

Along with Berenice Abbott and Weegee, Lisette Model became a photographer of New York. The city–the place became very important to Model–even her portraits are uniquely anchored to place. By Elsa Dorfman, Ann Thomas on Lisette Model (Published by the National Gallery of Canada to accompany an exhibition of Model’s work which travelled in the […]

Paul Graham – ‘The Unreasonable Apple’ (2010)

“Perhaps here we have stumbled upon a partial, but nonetheless astonishing description of the creative act at the heart of serious photography: nothing less than the measuring and folding of the cloth of time itself.” By Paul Graham This month I read a review in a leading US Art Magazine of a Jeff Wall survey […]

Diane Arbus’ Noah’s Ark of Humanity” (2004)

Diane Arbus’ Noah’s Ark of Humanity – A legendary photographer’s unfinished book By Randall Decoteau This article was written in response to the exhibit Diane Arbus: Family Albums at the Portland Museum of Art. In 1968, three years before her suicide, the great American photographer Diane Arbus (1923-1971) wrote that she was compiling her photographs […]