Diane Arbus (New York, 1923-1971) revolutionized the art she practiced. Her bold subject matter and photographic approach produced a body of work that is often shocking in its purity -- in its steadfast celebration of things as they are.
Arbus found most of her subjects in New York City, a place that she explored as both a known geography and as a foreign land, photographing people she discovered during the 1950s and 1960s. Her contemporary anthropology -- portraits of couples, children, carnival performers, nudists, middle-class families, transvestites, zealots, eccentrics, and celebrities -- stands as an allegory of the human experience, an exploration of the relationship between appearance and identity, illusion and belief, theater and reality.
In this first major retrospective in France, Jeu de Paume presents a selection of two hundred photographs, including all of the artist's iconic photographs as well as many that have never been publicly exhibited. Even the earliest examples of her work demonstrate Arbus's distinctive sensibility through the expression on a face, someone's posture, the character of the light, and the personal implications of objects in a room or landscape.