City Gallery Wellington Te Whare Toi is proud to present a lecture on the life and legacy of Diane Arbus by John Jacob, McEvoy Family Curator for Photography at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, in connection with our current exhibition A Box of Ten Photographs.
In late 1969, Diane Arbus began to work on a portfolio. At the time of her death in 1971, she had completed the printing for eight known sets of A Box of Ten Photographs, of a planned edition of fifty, only four of which she sold during her lifetime.
This presentation draws on Jacob’s research for Diane Arbus: A Box of Ten Photographs, the first exhibition to focus exclusively on the portfolio. Using the recorded voices of those who knew and worked with her, it tracks the evolution of an Arbus canon grounded in her work on the portfolio; the solidification of that canon as a consequence of her untimely death; and the emergence of discourse as institutions sought to accommodate and respond to its challenges.
John Jacob is McEvoy Family Curator for Photography at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, where his exhibitions have included, “Harlem Heroes: Photographs by Carl Van Vechten” (2016), “Diane Arbus: A box of ten photographs” and “Trevor Paglen: Sites Unseen” (2018), “Welcome Home: A Portrait of East Baltimore” (2021), and “Carrie Mae Weems: Looking Forward, Looking Back” (2023, co-curator with Saisha Grayson). Previously, Jacob was director of the Inge Morath Foundation, and program director at the Magnum Foundation for its Legacy Program that manages materials related to the history of Magnum Photos. Jacob began his career as an artist, working with reproductive media including photography, rubber-stamps, mail art and artist’s books.