Diane Arbus: A Biography

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Overview

"Like Frida Kahlo and Georgia O'Keeffe, Diane Arbus exerts a fascination rooted in both her art and her life. Her startling photographic images of dwarfs, twins, transvestites, and freaks seemed from the first to redefine both the normal and the abnormal in our lives; they were already becoming part of the iconography of the age when Arbus committed suicide in 1971. Although her work continues to fascinate viewers years after her death, Arbus herself has remained an enigma." In this first full biography, Patricia Bosworth examines the life and ...
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Diane Arbus: A Biography

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Overview

"Like Frida Kahlo and Georgia O'Keeffe, Diane Arbus exerts a fascination rooted in both her art and her life. Her startling photographic images of dwarfs, twins, transvestites, and freaks seemed from the first to redefine both the normal and the abnormal in our lives; they were already becoming part of the iconography of the age when Arbus committed suicide in 1971. Although her work continues to fascinate viewers years after her death, Arbus herself has remained an enigma." In this first full biography, Patricia Bosworth examines the life and the world behind Arbus's eerie, mesmerizing images: the pampered New York childhood, her passionate marriage to Allan Arbus and their work together as fashion photographers during the fifties; her years as a conventional wife and mother; the emotional upheaval surrounding the end of her marriage; and the radically dark, liberating, and ultimately tragic turn her art took during the sixties. Bosworth's book is a compassionate portrait of the woman behind some of the most powerful photographs of our time.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Examines the life of the famous photographer, which culminated in suicide in 1971, in terms of her famous images of the grotesque and aberrant. Feb.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781417824328
  • Publisher: Demco Media
  • Publication date: 3/28/2005
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 367
  • Product dimensions: 5.96 (w) x 9.34 (h) x 1.22 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia Bosworth is the author of biographies of Montgomery Clift and Marlon Brando. She is a contributing editor of Vanity Fair and has taught writing at Columbia University. She lives in New York.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2011

    Did you even like her?

    Why choose to write about an artist you don't seem to like? While dense with material about her life, there are early overtones of anti-semeticism in discussion of her family and a sense that Bosworth is a distant viewer, reportage.

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  • Posted May 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    too much info/not enough info

    This book is packed with details that reveal very little about its subject. It's the superficial saga of her life, seeming to cover everything, but just scratching the surface. I knew very little about Ms Arbus before reading it. Now I know where all she lived and what all she did, but not why she did anything. I didn't like the woman presented in this book. I didn't feel sorry for her, or admire her, or understand her, or relate to her at all. Furthermore, I couldn't even come to appreciate her work, as not one of her photographs was shown in this book. So, was she a tortured, frustrated, self-important, obsessive, hedonistic, boring woman who killed herself so she wouldn't have to face growing up and getting old. This book made me want to read a better book to find out.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2000

    Highly recommended

    This selection is very well written and a smooth read. It offers insight into the psyche of a wonderful and tortured artist while providing a fascinating glimpse into the New York art world of the 1950's. Never a dull moment.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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