March is Women’s History Month in 2011. I am doing a series of brief posts about women artists who were born in March. Today’s March-born American artist is Diane Arbus. Previous artists in this series were Rosa Bonheur, from France, and Americans Melissa Miller and Jennifer Bartlett. One more artist remains; an Abstract Expressionist. But weren’t they all men, you say? de Kooning, Kline, Calder, Diebenkorn, etcetera? The mystery deepens.
Diane Arbus was born on March 14. Although she spent a good deal of her early career as a commercial photographer, Diane is most noted for her square-format photographs of “freaks”, as she called some of her subjects. She is reported to have said “I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.” She was awarded successive Guggenheim Fellowships, taught photography, and was the first American photographer to have photographs displayed at the Venice Biennale (in 1972).
Two of her photos are below: Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park, New York City, USA (1962) and Identical Twins, Roselle, New Jersey, 1967. Copies of the original prints sold for over $400,000 in 2004-5. The subjects are alive and well. There is a great article about them, other surprisingly well-known subjects, and Diane in a great 2005 Washington Post article by David Segal at: