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Diane Arbus

Press release | Amsterdam, 22 June 2012

Diane Arbus

26 October 2012 - 13 January 2013

Diane Arbus (1923-1971) revolutionized the art she practiced. 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.

This exhibition of two hundred photographs affords an opportunity to explore the origins, scope, and aspirations of a wholly original force in photography. It includes all of the artist's iconic photographs as well as many that have never before been exhibited in the Netherlands. Even the earliest examples of her work demonstrate Arbus's distinctive sensibility through the expression on a face, someone's  posture,  the  character  of  the  light,  and  the  personal  implications  of  objects  in  a  room  or  landscape.  These  elements, animated by the singular relationship between the photographer and her subject, conspire to implicate the viewer with the force of a personal encounter.

Much has been written and said about Diane Arbus's work since her death in 1971-so much that it has sometimes made it difficult to see the work on its own terms. Foam is pleased to present, perhaps for the first time, a major retrospective of Arbus' uniquely powerful photographs in the true eloquence of their silence. The show will enable each viewer to encounter the images much as the photographer encountered her subjects: directly and unencumbered by preconceptions.

Visitors  to  the  exhibition  seeking  knowledge  about  Arbus's  life  and  working  methods  will  be  able  to  explore  three  additional separate galleries containing biographical material, books, personal notebooks, correspondence and other writings in which the artist articulates the goals, obstacles, and strategies that went into making the pictures.

This exhibition has been organized by Jeu de Paume, Paris, in collaboration with the Estate of Diane Arbus LLC, New York and with the participation of Fotomuseum Winterthur and Martin-Gropius-Bau Berlin.

The exhibition at Foam has been made possible by the generous support of the Turing Foundation, Hotel De L'Europe and the Embassy of the United States of America.

Diane Arbus can be seen from 26 October 2012 - 13 January 2013 at Foam. Open daily 10 am - 6 pm, Thurs/Fri 10 am - 9 pm. Tickets: € 10 (includes surcharge of 1,50).

Note to editors: For information and visual material please contact the communications department, e-mail foam[at]foam.org or phone +31 (0)20 5516500.

Foam is sponsored by the BankGiroLoterij, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, Delta Lloyd and the VandenEnde Foundation.

Foam
Keizersgracht 609
1017 DS Amsterdam
phone: + 31 (0)20 5516500
www.foam.org