DIANE ARBUS—TWINS AND OTHER “FREAKS.” Diane Arbus was a prominent photographer of the last century. Perhaps her most famous photograph was of a pair of young twin girls. A copy of it sold for almost $500,000 a few years ago. This article about Arbus mentions exhibits on Arbus which were held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, and says that her photograph of the girl twins was “clearly the star” of the show at the Metropolitan Museum. For me, as a twin, it is Diane Arbus’s body of work that makes the photograph noteworthy. The article refers to the exhibit at the Metropolitan as a “menagerie of weirdos” and points out that Arbus referred to her subjects as “freaks.” For me, what has always stood out about the photographs of Diane Arbus is the cruelty of a body of work which pokes fun at the kind of people whom society has always jeered at. We like to think that as a society we have become less unkind, but the Arbus exhibit at the Metropolitan was in 1995, and apparently it was a success.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Winesburg, Ohio, had a name for people who don’t conform to our standards of normality. At the moment I can’t think of it, but one of my students at NYU, Frank Nastro, took exception of the book’s patronizing tone towards the characters it illustrated as substandard.

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