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  • Deborah Emery

Diane Arbus at The Met Breuer

I recently went to see the Diane Arbus: In the Beginning show at the Met Breuer, which runs through November 27, 2016.  This is the first time a majority of the works have been seen by the public, having been gifted to the museum in 2007 by the artist's daughters, Doon and Amy. The images displayed are revelatory in terms of the artist’s evolution as a creative artist with a highly distinctive vision. They are intimate and up-close, in some instances uncomfortably so.


The exhibition was organized in a unique and visually striking way. Rows of floor-to-ceiling columns fill the space, and on each, a solitary photograph.  The images are not organized by date or subject matter, and I liked the sense of freedom it gave me of being able to wander around in no particular order. It is how I always want to enjoy an exhibit, but seldom do as I tend to be much more methodical in my viewing habits.  The arrangement also has the effect of highlighting each image as a stand-alone piece, even if there are common themes.


I often feel a connection with artists who have made images of New York a focus of their work, and there’s something specifically about Arbus’ work that fascinates me – her infatuation with the obscure.  I am always drawn to the undiscovered and appreciate how she saw and brought our attention to things others overlook.


I highly recommend visiting the Met Breuer if you have the chance! Afterwards I suggest walking just a few blocks north to one of my favorite spots – St Ambroeus – an elegant Madison avenue, Milanese style eatery, for one of their signature drinks and delicious food, or a café and gelato. Make an afternoon  of it like we did!



Read about the exhibit on the Met Breuer website.

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