Loading...
Art

Diane Arbus' Never-Before-Seen Photos on Display in a Hancock Park Gallery

Comments (0)

By

Sat, Mar 30, 2013 at 7:00 AM

click to enlarge Diane Arbus' photo of a couple in the park - EVA RECINOS
  • Eva Recinos
  • Diane Arbus' photo of a couple in the park

See also:

*Catherine Opie Discusses Her Three L.A. Art Exhibits

*Five Artsy Things to Do in L.A. this week, Including '90s Flashbacks

*A Set of Andy Warhol's Polaroids, Revealed for the First Time

New York-born photographer Diane Arbus did not foresee the fame she would garner after her signature style cemented her as one of the most important figures in American photography.

In fact, most reports describe the photographer as shying away from fame. She preferred shooting photographs by herself, lugging multiple cameras and equipment around the city. Not one to draw boundaries, she possessed a knack for gaining her subjects' trust and taking intimate photos of them in their homes. She even stripped down to take photos at nudist camps and beaches.

This attitude gave her portraits a genuine quality that is still relevant today. Decades after she began photographing, her work keeps her name well-known. On Thursday, Fahey/Klein Gallery here in L.A. launched an exhibit of a few of her pieces never seen by the public. The rare photographs can from two private collectors, some signed by Arbus' daughter Doon.

click to enlarge Diane Arbus' photo of a hermaphrodite and a dog in a carnival trailer - EVA RECINOS
  • Eva Recinos
  • Diane Arbus' photo of a hermaphrodite and a dog in a carnival trailer
While she shot photographs for fashion magazines Arbus also wandered the streets in search of outcasts and less common subjects. The gelatin silver prints in this show possess the antique look of film photography but the subjects -- save for giveaways like one trendy woman's cat eye glasses -- feel familiar even today. Arbus captures images like the waning movie star struggling to hold onto her beauty, and the cuddling couple sitting at the local park. And the photographs with less common figures still intrigue; even today, few art shows include photos of a hermaphrodite at home or a topless waitress working in a nudist camp. The collection even includes photos of James Brown, one showing the singer looking upwards with a strange look on his face as a pair of hands fix his hair. The image contradicts the loud persona of Brown, letting the viewer in on the moment when he seems unaware or uncaring about the camera in front of him. It's easy to point this work out as an Arbus photograph because it's unexpected. Yet the portrait feels almost softer, as if Arbus somehow pitied the star's status.
click to enlarge Diane Arbus' photo of James Brown - EVA RECINOS
  • Eva Recinos
  • Diane Arbus' photo of James Brown
Fahey/Klein's show serves as a reminder of Arbus' abnormal way of framing the world but also of the power her photographs will continue to hold. Today, as in decades ago, viewers might not approve of her subject matter but they'll sure be looking at her work.
click to enlarge Diane Arbus' photo of actress Mae West in her home with her pet monkey - EVA RECINOS
  • Eva Recinos
  • Diane Arbus' photo of actress Mae West in her home with her pet monkey
The show runs until May 28, 2013. Fahey/Klein Gallery is located on 148 N. La Brea Ave., Hancock Park. faheykleingallery.com.

Follow me on Twitter at @eva_recinos, and for more arts news follow us at @LAWeeklyArts and like us on Facebook.

Related Content

Now Trending

Los Angeles Concert Tickets

Slideshows

  • Lina in L.A. -- Tiki Oasis
    Pin-up girls, beatnik boys and tiki lovers from L.A. and beyond made a splash at San Diego's Crowne Plaza Hotel, which hosted the annual Tiki Oasis event, this year themed "Beat Tiki" with a groovy "60s beat" thrust. The wild weekender took over the grounds with colorful cocktails, non-stop pool and room parties, fashion shows, seminars, shopping and live entertainment including burlesque, bands and more.

    See also: Tiki Oasis, a Convention for Fans of Retro Tropical Kitsch
  • Lina in L.A. -- Swinghouse Studios' Farewell to Hollywood Soiree
    A rocking, raging night was had by all when Swinghouse Studios marked a big move Saturday night. The legendary Hollywood recording and rehearsal space, which has been home to big bands and wild bashes for two decades (first on Cahuenga Blvd. and then on Willoughby Ave. near Santa Monica Blvd.) will soon move to Atwater Village. Food trucks, drinks, and great live sets by Prima Donna, Dorothy, The Beta Machine and Alexa Melo highlighted the bittersweet revelry.
  • Beatlemania at the Flying Morgans' Mansion
    In honor of the 50th anniversary of Beatlemania the Flying Morgans had a Beatle prom this last Friday to celebrate Molly, Bonnie and Gary's Birthday with 400 of their closest friends. All photos by Star Foreman.