Diane Arbus Documents


Through an assemblage of articles, criticism, and essays, Diane Arbus Documents charts the reception of the artist’s work and offers comprehensive insight into the critical conversations, as well as misconceptions, around the highly influential photographer.


ISBN: 9781644230657 Category:

Diane Arbus


Known for her evocative portraits, Diane Arbus is a pivotal figure in American postwar photography. Undeniably striking, Arbus’s black-and-white photographs capture a unique gaze. Criticized as well as lauded for her photographs of people deemed “outsiders,” Arbus continues to attract a diversity of opinions surrounding her subjects and practice. Critics and writers have described her work as “sinister” and “appalling” as well as “revelatory,” “sincere,” and “compassionate.” In the absence of Arbus’s own voice, art criticism and cultural shifts have shaped the language attributed to her work.

Organized in eleven sections that focus on major exhibitions and significant events in Arbus’s life, as well as on her practice and her subjects, the seventy facsimiles of articles and essays–an archive by all accounts–trace the discourse on Diane Arbus, contextualizing her hugely successful oeuvre. Also with 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.

Additional information

Weight 2036 g
Dimensions 22.1 x 28.5 cm
Publisher name David Zwirner Books
Publication date 7 December 2022
Number of pages 496
Format Hardback
Contributors Edited by Max Rosenberg
Dimensions 22.1 x 28.5 cm
Weight 2036 g


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Diane Arbus (1923-1971) is one of the most original and influential photographers 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 with the Estate of Diane Arbus since 2018. In that year, he helped organize Diane Arbus: Untitled, the gallery's inaugural exhibition of Arbus's work. 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.