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SWITZERLAND. Diane Arbus' major retrospective on show at the Fotomuseum Winterthur
16/03/2012 08:58:05

Diane Arbus (New York, 1923–1971) is a key figure in the history of 20th century art. In this major retrospective the Fotomuseum Winterthur presents a selection of approximately 200 photographs drawn from museum and private collections, comprised of her most famous pictures alongside other less familiar and virtually unpublished works.

Her bold subject matter and photographic approach produced a body of work that is often shocking in its purity, in its steadfast celebration of things as they are. Her gift for rendering strange those things we consider most familiar, and for uncovering the familiar within the exotic, enlarges our understanding of ourselves.

Arbus found most of her subjects in New York City, a place that she explored as both a known geography and as a foreign land, photographing people she discovered during the 1950s and 1960s. She was committed to photography as a medium that tangles with the facts. Her contemporary anthropology—portraits of couples, children, carnival performers, nudists, middle-class families, transvestites, zealots, eccentrics, and celebrities—stands as an allegory of the human experience, an exploration of the relationship between appearance and identity, illusion and belief, theater and reality.

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Image: Diane Arbus. A young man in curlers at home on West 20th Street, N.Y.C. 1966 © The Estate of Diane Arbus. Photo courtesy

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