Diane Arbus: A Biography, Diane Arbus: Magazine Work, Botero, Comme des Garçons Ca-ta-logue, Cindy Sherman and Georgia O'Keeffe

PATRICIA BOSWORTH’S FAILURE TO gain the cooperation of several who knew Diane Arbus especially well, including her two daughters, her ex-but-only husband, and close colleagues such as Richard Avedon and Marvin Israel, has resulted in a very strange and quite memorable biography. Arbus’ brother, the poet Howard Nemerov, and her often-slighted younger sister, did agree to talk. More surprisingly, so did their mother, perhaps because she had so little to say—a poignance, of course, in itself. In absorbing detail we hear about Diane-the-boss’-daughter, Diane-the-student, Diane-my-first-flame, Diane-who-understood-me, Diane-who-ruined-my-marriage, Diane-whom-I-adored, Diane-the-weirdo, and, not to be forgotten, Diane-the-photographer.

A vivid leitmotif runs through this book concerning many people’s strong, initial reactions to the subject. I am reminded here of a letter from Virginia Woolf

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