Diane Arbus: in the beginning
Art — 01.08.16
Words: Molly Taylor
Diane Arbus’ early work, presented by New York’s Metropolitan Museum in current show ‘in the beginning’, is not immediately recognisable as distinctly hers (for a start, they’re not square-format). But on closer inspection, the late photographer’s archetypal themes – class, isolation, and social awkwardness – are present in images that depict carnival performers, men in drag, sex workers, and children with mysterious faces.
The exhibition, curated by Jeff Rosenheim, includes over 100 works in a single gallery with no organisational grouping, so viewers are left to pick through the collection and uncover its secrets slowly, paying complete attention to each of the images and how they work together. It offers the rare opportunity of witnessing the development in the style of one of the most influential and provocative artists of the 20th century.