Diane Arbus: Family Albums


  • Ongoing: until Sunday, January 16, 2005
  • Sunday: 12:00pm
  • Tuesday: 10:00am
  • Wednesday: 10:00am
  • Thursday: 10:00am
  • Friday: 10:00am
  • Saturday: 10:00am
  • Where: Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence
  • Cost: Free
  • Age limit: All ages

In 1968, three years before her suicide, Diane Arbus wrote thatshe was compiling her photographs into a "family album," likening it to a"Noah's ark" and perhaps imagining in it the people who might be remembered and saved in the aftermath of the tumultuous 1960s. "Family," in Arbus' sense, consisted of people held together by all sorts of bonds, some traditional and others alternative, and deserving of special attention.Diane Arbus: Family Albums, organized by the Spencer Museum of Art and the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, South Hadley, Mass., re-examines Arbus' never-completed project and offers a glimpse into what such an album might have looked like. The exhibition will be on view in the Spencer's Kress Gallery from Oct. 16 through Jan. 16, before continuing on to several other venues in its national tour. This exhibit includes a large body of work never seen before publicly and promises to change the received view of the remarkable photographer. Arbus was interested in compiling expansive and metaphorical images of the 1960s family. The exhibition, then, culls from Arbus' work, as she never had the chance to do, a collective image of the family in a turbulent decade of American history. It presents traditional family groupings as well as alternative families/communities and "implied"families. The exhibition is augmented with printed materials from the 1960s and a major companion book published by Yale University Press, co-authored by the exhibition's organizers, John Pultz, Spencer curator of photography and associate professor of art history, and Anthony Lee, Mount Holyoke associate professor of art history. Their book has met with widespread critical acclaim-in December 2003 both Art and Auction and The New York Times Book Review included it on lists of the best photography books of the year.

This event was posted Sept. 30, 2004 and last updated Sept. 16, 2014


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