When Diane Arbus took her own life July 26, 1971, she was at the top of a career that had taken her from relative success as a fashion photographer in the 1950s to becoming one of the most esteemed contemporary art photographers of her time. She gained legendary status shortly after her death. Arbus’ photographs have often been interpreted as testimonies of her biography. This interpretation may have increased the popularity of her photographs, but has overshadowed aspects that are equally interesting.
The selection of works in the exhibition at Peder Lund is an opportunity to question common conceptions and interpretations of Arbus by exhibiting both well-known and less-known sides of her oeuvre. This approach enables us to critically assess the conception that her photographs mirror her biography, whilst simultaneously encouraging a reading of her work as part of a larger context related to the history of photography, culture, and social history.
The unique collection of 21 vintage photographs, printed by the artist herself between 1956 and 1971, demonstrates the breadth of Arbus’ career. Diane Arbus’ most best-known photographs such as “Child with a toy hand grenade in Central Park, N.Y.C.” (1962) and “Identical Twins, Roselle, N.J.” (1966) are included in this retrospective exhibition alongside less-known photographs that have not been as widely exhibited.