Saturday, April 09, 2005

Revelation #3

Three notes from *Diane Arbus Revelations*, now at the Met:

1. A grandmother is patiently explaining the photos to her quite young granddaughter. I wince as I pass the one in which a dominatrix poses with her foot atop the back of a paunchy, shirtless man, face obscured by a mask: What will grandma say? Without missing a beat, she reads the title aloud ("Dominatrix With a Kneeling Client"), seemingly unimpressed, and notes succinctly to the tyke, "Some people like other people to do that to them." Moving on . . .

2. Reading some wall text about Arbus's husband, Allan Arbus, a know-it-allish woman says to someone (younger relation? foreign exchange student? complete stranger?): "He was an actor. Have you ever seen that show M*A*S*H*?" "I . . . I think maybe . . . reruns . . . " "Do you know the psychiatrist? That's him—Allan Arbus."

3. "It is dizzying and if you have further counsel I will gladly listen." —DA to Walker Evans, upon receiving a Guggenheim.


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