Hayward Gallery

diane arbus: in the beginning

13 FEB – 6 MAY 2019

diane arbus: in the beginning

Diane Arbus made most of her photographs in New York City, where she was born and died, and where she worked in locations such as Times Square, the Lower East Side and Coney Island. Her photographs of children and eccentrics, couples and circus performers, female impersonators and midtown shoppers, are among the most intimate, surprising and haunting works of art of the twentieth century. 

Organised by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and adapted for Hayward Gallery, diane arbus: in the beginning takes an in-depth look at the formative first half of Arbus’ career, during which the photographer developed the direct, psychologically acute style for which she later became so widely celebrated. 

The exhibition features more than 100 photographs, the majority of which are vintage prints made by the artist, drawn from the Diane Arbus Archive at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. More than two-thirds of these photographs have never been seen before in the UK. 

Tracing the development of Arbus’ early work with a 35mm camera to the distinctive square format she began using in 1962, the exhibition concludes with a presentation of A box of ten photographs, the portfolio Arbus produced in 1970 and 1971, comprising legendary portraits including Identical twins, Roselle, N.J. 1967 and A Jewish giant at home with his parents in the Bronx, N.Y. 1970.

This exhibition is organised by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Generously supported by Cockayne – Grants for the arts, The London Community Foundation and Alexander Graham with additional support from Michael G and C Jane Wilson.

Image credit:
Jack Dracula at a bar, New London, Conn. 1961 (detail)
9 3/4 × 6 5/8 in. (24.8 × 16.9 cm)
Promised Gift of Doon Arbus and Amy Arbus, 2007
Courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York/ Copyright © The Estate of Diane Arbus, LLC. 
All Rights Reserved.

a genius who made every picture a story ★★★★★
The Guardian
dazzling, curious and chilling ★★★★★
The Telegraph
a superb show ★★★★
Evening Standard

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The curator of diane arbus: in the beginning and The Met’s Collections Specialist discuss Arbus’ early photographs
Watch a short introduction to the exhibition from Jeff L. Rosenheim