Diane Arbus Documents (Hardcover)

Diane Arbus Documents By Diane Arbus, Max Rosenberg (Editor), Lucas Zwirner (Foreword by), Jeffrey Fraenkel (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Diane Arbus, Max Rosenberg (Editor), Lucas Zwirner (Foreword by), Jeffrey Fraenkel (Foreword by)
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A groundbreaking publication offering insight into the critical conversations and misconceptions around this unrivaled artist’s works.

Best known for her penetrating images exploring what it means to be human, Diane Arbus is a pivotal and singular figure in American postwar photography. Arbus’s black-and-white photographs demolish aesthetic conventions and upend all certainties. Both lauded and criticized for her photographs of people deemed “outsiders,” Arbus continues to be a lightning rod for a wide range of opinions surrounding her subject matter and approach. Critics and writers have described her work as “sinister” and “appalling” as well as “revelatory,” “sincere,” and “compassionate.” Through an assemblage of articles, criticism, and essays from 1967 to the present, Diane Arbus Documents charts the reception of the revolutionary photographer's work.

Illuminating fifty years of evolution in the field of art criticism, Documents provides a new template for understanding the work of any formidable artist. Organized in eleven sections that focus on major exhibitions and significant events emerging from Arbus’s work, as well as on her methods and intentions, the sixty-nine facsimiles of previously published articles and essays––an archive by all accounts––trace the discourse on Arbus, contextualizing her inimitable oeuvre. Supplemented by an annotated bibliography of more than six hundred entries and a comprehensive exhibition history, Documents serves as an important resource for photographers, researchers, art historians, and art critics, in addition to students of art criticism and the interested reader alike.

About the Author

Diane Arbus (1923–1971) is one of the most original and influential artists of the twentieth century. She studied photography with Berenice Abbott, Alexey Brodovitch, and Lisette Model and had her first published photographs appear in Esquire in 1960. In 1963 and 1966 she was awarded John Simon Guggenheim Fellowships and was one of three photographers whose work was the focus of New Documents, John Szarkowski’s landmark exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1967. Arbus’s depictions of couples, children, female impersonators, nudists, New York City pedestrians, suburban families, circus performers, and celebrities, among others, span the breadth of the postwar American social sphere and constitute a diverse and singularly compelling portrait of humanity.

Max Rosenberg is an art historian and associate director of research and exhibitions at David Zwirner. He has worked on exhibitions on Josef Albers, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, William Eggleston, Paul Klee, Giorgio Morandi, Raymond Pettibon, and Christopher Williams, among others. He has received grants and awards from the Dedalus Foundation, the Fulbright Program, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and the Getty Research Institute, among other institutions. His writings have appeared in various publications, including The Getty Research Journal, Texte zur Kunst, and Art in America.

Lucas Zwirner is Head of Content at David Zwirner where he oversees all aspects of gallery publishing through books, web, film, and podcasts. In addition to spearheading the ekphrasis series, short texts on visual culture by artists and writers rarely available in English, and the award-winning podcast Dialogues, Lucas also helps lead select digital initiatives, including Platform, a standalone company founded in 2021. He is also a writer and translator, whose work has appeared in The Drift, The Paris Review, and An Elias Canetti Reader, edited by Josh Cohen and published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. He is a graduate of Yale University where he studied Comparative Literature and Philosophy.

Since founding Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco in 1979, Jeffrey Fraenkel has presented almost 400 exhibitions about photography and its interconnections to the other arts.

Praise For…

“This book’s singular cover, shot by a camera facing a woman facing a set of pictures, nicely sets up the complexity of gaze and position alive in this book. The result is that to me this book feels both ordinary and extraordinary. Small details reveal the care and precision of the design choices. I especially appreciate the advertising, page numbers and edges that are left uncropped. These (un)cropping choices allow the viewer points of meaningful entry to the document’s historic and social context. Dizzyingly arranged and layered, but maintaining a core of readability, these ‘documents’ become both a landscape and a relic—one to be read, viewed and re-examined.”
— AIGA | 50 Books Award Winner

"It’s at once a valuable resource for historians and students of art history as well as a fascinating read for fans of contemporary photography." 
— The Strategist, New York Magazine

“A valuable resource for historians and students of art history as well as a fascinating read for fans of contemporary photography.”
— The Strategist, New York Magazine

“By foregrounding the literature on Arbus, the show acknowledged that the artist’s reputation has often overshadowed her images. Thankfully, it also allowed the photographs to speak for themselves.”
— Art in America

"a lavishly produced compendium of Arbus criticism over the last half-century."
— Arthur Lubow

“‘MoMA just thought this [their groundbreaking 1972 Arbus retrospective] was going to be another show,’ said Jeffrey Fraenkel, the dealer who co-represents Arbus’s estate. But ‘it was an earthquake,’ a once-in-a-generation moment. This week, for its 50th anniversary, Fraenkel and David Zwirner gallery are restaging the exhibition at Zwirner’s West 20th Street outpost in Manhattan. They are also publishing a 500-page book of writings about Arbus called ‘Documents’...MoMA’s Arbus show has since taken on an element of myth, but ‘Documents’ also chronicles a significant backlash.”
— M.H. Miller

"A doorstop scrapbook that reproduces a half-century’s worth of writing about an artist who, as Avedon once observed, ‘made the act of looking an act of such intelligence, that to look at so-called ordinary things is to become responsible for what you see.'"
— The New Yorker

“...[the book is] even more illuminating when it comes to illustrating Arbus’s impact…includes commentary from no fewer than 55 esteemed artists and critics…the book illustrates one of the most striking things about the polemic nature of Arbus’s work.”
— Stephanie Eckardt

“...a look back at how one single museum showing proved to the public that photography merits the status of fine art.” 
— Stephanie Eckardt

“A vast, absorbing bibliography of the critical writings published over the last five decades, Documents is testament to Arbus’s enduring legacy, an artist who has continuously been a part of the conversation about looking and feeling.”
— Cultured Magazine

Product Details
ISBN: 9781644230657
ISBN-10: 1644230658
Publisher: David Zwirner Books
Publication Date: September 27th, 2022
Pages: 496
Language: English