Diane Arbus: Revelations

Diane Arbus: Revelations

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by Diane Arbus
     
 

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

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Overview

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 Presenting many of her lesser-known or previously unpublished photographs in the context of the iconic images reveals a subtle yet persistent view of the world.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artist’s eldest daughter, illustrated by more than three hundred additional images and composed mainly of previously unpublished excerpts from the artist’s letters, notebooks, and other writings, amounts to a kind of autobiography.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.

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Editorial Reviews

The Village Voice
Revelations' broad view is deepened by its extraordinary central text, a detailed chronology, based primarily on the artist's own letters and notebooks, that her daughter Doon calls "a kind of autobiography."
Library Journal
Arbus (1923-71) said that her approach to photography was like gathering a butterfly collection, in that she aimed to depict objectively the distinctiveness of her unusual subjects. Known best for her pictures of human aberrance, she is again the subject of a new wave of popular appreciation. Revelations accompanies a major retrospective and is the most comprehensive study of her life and work yet to appear. An outstanding accomplishment in a photography book, it's a title that in its density and design successfully encapsulates the work of an eclectic artist who at times defies interpretation. Articulate textual matter weaves together thorough coverage of Arbus's images. In a very readable introductory chapter, curator Phillips unravels Arbus's philosophy and places her within an aesthetic continuum containing forerunners such as August Sander and Lisette Model. An image-rich 100-page chronology, compiled by curator Elizabeth Sussman and the photographer's daughter, Doon Arbus, will stand as a definitive account for generations to come. Topping it off is a section of detailed biographies of 55 dramatis personae in Arbus's life and an essay on the technical aspects of printing her photos by her longtime darkroom collaborator Neil Selkirk. The focus of Family Albums is a large, previously unknown group of photos of one wealthy New York family, here shown alongside better-known portraits. Coalescing around an Arbus claim in a 1968 letter about starting a book to be entitled Family Album, this book by art history professor Lee (Mount Holyoke) and Pultz (Univ. of Kansas) takes a new perspective that will help expand her reputation beyond that of an illuminator of social marginalia. The newly discovered photos are presented separately as contact sheets, and to see them alongside her finished prints demonstrates well the amount of labor Arbus devoted to creating a more arresting final product. Revelations is a near-essential purchase for most collections, and libraries seeking the most thorough coverage of this pivotal artist should consider buying both titles.-Douglas Smith, Oakland P.L. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780812972207
Publisher:
Random House Adult Trade Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/28/2003
Pages:
351
Product dimensions:
9.80(w) x 12.48(h) x 1.23(d)

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