Photographer Diane Arbus is widely regarded as one of the most original and influential artists of the 20th century. She left behind a gallery of characters – the Jewish giant, the grimacing boy with a toy grenade – and her work has been the subject of major retrospectives throughout the world. Now New York’s Lévy Gorvy is staging an exhibition (from May 2 to June 24) of shots Arbus took within four miles of the gallery, in Central Park and Washington Square Park, between 1958 and 1971.
The show, Diane Arbus: In the Park, will feature rarely seen works (from $5,500 to $150,000), such as A Very Thin Man in Central Park and Couple Talking on a Path, alongside well-known photographs like Young Man and his Pregnant Wife in Washington Square Park and Child with a Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park. There are even some works being shown for the first time, including Girl in a Beret in Central Park, Three Girls at a Puerto Rican Festival and Susan Sontag and her Son on Bench.
The exhibition also allows the viewer to follow the evolution of Arbus’s style from a smaller to a larger print format, and from an artist into a photojournalist, as seen in one of the final images, A Young Man and his Girlfriend with Hot Dogs in the Park. Yet the consistent thread throughout is her ability to give a voice to everyday people – often the most marginalised. “I’m not idealising, I’m not documenting; I’m presenting a super-truth,” Arbus said of her work. The photographs on show here are prime examples of that.
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