Legendary photographer Diane Arbus is getting an extensive retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (March 8-May 30, 2005), and it is a dazzling tribute to one of America’s finest camera artists. There are some 180 photographs, including those that are easily recognizable as much-shown examples of her work, and others with which the public is less familiar.
The collection, titled “Diane Arbus Revelations,” expresses Arbus’ fascination with the unusual and also her ability to capture the essence of people she chose to snap. One of her most famous is her portrait of identical twins, dating to 1967, and that one is included. So are shots of a mistress and her masochist client. Carnival performers fascinated Arbus. So did people with tattoos.
The exhibit also includes a reconstruction of her darkroom, with contact sheets displayed, as well as pictures affixed to the wall and her notebooks on a counter. There is much to observe, much to study.
Arbus, who was born in 1923, committed suicide in 1971, tragically ending her brief but astonishing career that lives on through her many great and provocative photographs. At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue (at 82nd Street). For visitor information: Phone 212-535-7710.