Chris Murtha at Art in America:
Much has been written about Diane Arbus—the person and the images—in the 50 years since the Museum of Modern Art mounted its posthumous landmark retrospective of her photographs in November 1972. A recent restaging of that exhibition at David Zwirner, co-organized with Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco, made visitors acutely aware of the work’s public reception even before entering the exhibition: An introductory note on the gallery windows recounted how the MoMA exhibition “precipitated an eruption of praise and outrage from critics and scholars, a war of words that continues to this day.” Inside, dozens of unattributed quotes wallpapered the lobby, ranging from acidic ridicule to ardent praise. In addition, the exhibition was accompanied by Diane Arbus Documents, a 500-page tome that assembles facsimiles of nearly 70 texts, including exhibition and book reviews, biographical profiles, scholarly essays, and even a master’s thesis. By foregrounding the literature on Arbus, the show acknowledged that the artist’s reputation has often overshadowed her images. Thankfully, it also allowed the photographs to speak for themselves.