Diane Arbus: A Box of Ten Photographs


In May 1971, Artforum, bastion of late modernism, featured the work of a photographer for the very first time. On its
cover and in a six-page spread, it published selections from Diane Arbus portfolio, A box of ten photographs. In the
words of the magazine editor and photography skeptic, Philip Leider, The portfolio changed everything . . . one
could no longer deny status as art; At the time of Arbus death, two months later, only four of the
intended edition of fifty had been sold. Two had been purchased from Arbus by Richard Avedon (the first for himself,
the second as a gift for his friend Mike Nichols); another was purchased by Jasper Johns; and a fourth by Bea Feitler,
art director at Harper Bazaar. Arbus signed the prints in all four sets; each print was accompanied by an interleaving
vellum slip-sheet inscribed with an extended caption. For Feitler, Arbus added an eleventh photograph, A woman
with her baby monkey, N.J. 1971.

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