Monday, April 5, 2010

Diane Arbus Exhibition

Those who know me know that I love Diane Arbus. Her work significantly influenced me during my time at MassArt, and I even have one of her quotes tattooed on my arm (which, I have to say, elicits the most bizarre comments from strangers). Below is an article from Art Daily about a new exhibit of her work that displays her images as part of the magazine spreads for which they were created. I wish I could see this show, as I am fascinated by the fact that so much of her work was made on assignment. There seems to be less crossover between commercial and personal work, at least for me, than there used to be. The show also raises questions about context and intentions.

Pierre Leguillon Features Diane Arbus: A Printed Retrospective, 1960-1971. Collection Kadist Art Foundation.
Foto: Prallan Allsten© Prallan Allsten/Moderna Museet

The French artist Pierre Leguillon has compiled a unique retrospective on the large body of work produced by Diane Arbus for the Anglo-American press in the 1960s. This spring and summer, the exhibition is being shown at Moderna Museet Malm̦, featuring some 100 photos in their original context Рon the pages of magazines.

In the 1960s, Diane Arbus (1923-1971) was used widely by publications such as Harper’s Bazaar, Esquire, Nova and The Sunday Times Magazine. Her extensive work for the Anglo-American press is relatively unknown, however, and Pierre Leguillon’s presentation is the first time it has been shown in this way: a printed retrospective in the form of some one hundred original magazine spreads.

The exhibition presents a broad material comprising hundreds of photos that demonstrate her wide variety of subjects and genres: photo journalism, celebrity shots, kids’ fashion and several photo essays. All Arbus’ photos are shown in their original social and political context, in the pages of original magazines. The images are shown as they were intended to be seen, in their intended format and setting and in relation to a text. Interspersed in this rich array of Arbus’ photographic output are various texts and images by other photographers (Walker Evans, Annie Leibovitz, Victor Burgin, Wolfgang Tillmans, Matthieu Laurette, Bill Owens) directly or indirectly referring to a specific part of Arbus’ oeuvre and thus emphasising its strong impact on her contemporary times and the present day.

The retrospective, which was put together by the French artist Pierre Leguillon and is presented as a work of art/exhibition/collection, also encourages us to reflect on these aspects and on the relationship between the original and the copy.

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