Diane Arbus Lecture on May 4th - Mark your calendars!

Loyal blog followers…

We’re very excited about our next event on May 4th. Frederick Gross, professor of Art History at SCAD-Savannah is coming to FLP to talk about his research on Diane Arbus. He recently published a book, Diane Arbus’s 1960s: Auguries of Experience (University of Minnesota Press). Professor Gross was one of Meghan’s teachers in her MA program a few years ago, and after enduring many, many revisions of her thesis its only fair she somehow return the favor. Join us at 6PM for drinks and chatter, and the lecture starts at 7PM.

Meghan hasn’t actually finished reading the book yet, but she’s close (cut her some slack - she manages FLP and Jennifer Schwartz Gallery). This is what she’s learned so far while having flashbacks from graduate school…

Gross examines Arbus’s work within the social context in which it was created: the 1960s. When you think the discourse surrounding Arbus, it’s mostly driven by biography. She’s often portrayed as a tortured individual, this leads historians/critics to using this to some extent as a reason for her photographs of “people on the margins”. She committed suicide in 1971, which further helps that tortured artist myth. This idea is certainly nothing new (van Gogh is another prime example), but it doesn’t take into account other factors. The 1960s were a time of great change and new ideas - Arbus certainly was aware of this.

As a part of the reference collection, FLP has a copy of Revelations, a book published in conjunction with a large retrospective at SF MOMA in 2003. Meghan has started looking through it in depth and reading the essays. One thing is clear about Revelations: it focuses largely on biographical details, and lots of nicely printed images.

Still reading, Meghan hasn’t decided deciphered her thoughts on these approaches to Arbus’s work. But she plans to work it out between now and next Friday. Here. On the blog. Stay tuned.