Diane Arbus: In the Park
Lévy Gorvy, New York
May 2 - June 28, 2017
Diane Arbus: In the Park (2017), on view at Lévy Gorvy, New York, was the first presentation to focus solely on Arbus’s photographs made in Central Park and Washington Square, theaters of public interaction that provided fertile territory for the creation of many of her most striking and original images. Arbus captured the works on view within four miles of the exhibition.
For Arbus, the city’s parks were arenas of rich and unpredictable encounters. The exhibition introduced rarely seen photographs, such as A very thin man in Central Park, N.Y.C. 1961, alongside well-known images such as Child with a toy hand grenade in Central Park, N.Y.C. 1962, and Young man and his pregnant wife in Washington Square Park, N.Y.C. 1965. Most of these works resulted from a single chance meeting between Arbus and her subjects. Several, including Girl in a beret in Central Park, N.Y.C., 1958, and Susan Sontag and her son on bench, N.Y.C., 1965, were exhibited here for the first time.
Arbus began photographing in Central Park in 1956. She repeatedly returned to the city’s parks over her brief, fifteen-year career. Among the last pictures in the exhibition was A young man and his girlfriend with hot dogs in the park, N.Y.C., made in 1971, the year of her death. The exhibition surveyed the evolution of Arbus’s style (from smaller to larger negatives, from smaller to larger prints) and her singular approach to the people she photographed. Lévy Gorvy presented the exhibition in collaboration with Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco.