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A Personal Note from Diane Arbus
My discovery of a time-traveling "new document” artifact

Doug Menuez by Doug Menuez on June 12, 2019

There’s no one I know in my generation of photographers, and probably those following, who were not influenced by the brilliant Diane Arbus in some way, whether they know it or not. For sure I was blown away by her singular work as I was getting started and in art school. So it was a complete thrill for us to find in my late mother’s papers this silver print postcard she made and sent to my stepfather Arthur, who was a friend of hers. It seems she made many of these to let people know about her shows.

In this case, she’s inviting Arthur in a handwritten note on the back to “The New Documents” exhibit in 1967 at MOMA. This turned out to be a pivotal exhibit in the history of documentary and modern fine art photography, curated by the legendary John Szarkowski. It especially helped to establish Diane but also Gary Winogrand and Lee Friedlander. I love history and we’ll treasure this time-traveling "new document” artifact from Diane Arbus.

The Postcard

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Doug MenuezDocumentary photographer and director Doug Menuez once stood at the North Pole, crossed the Sahara, had tea with Stalin's daughter and held a chunk of Einstein's brain. Quitting his blues band in 1981, he began his career freelancing for Time, LIFE, Newsweek, Fortune, USA Today, the New York Times Magazine and many other publications. He covered the AIDS crisis, homelessness in America, politics, five Super Bowls and the Olympics. His portrait assignments included Presidents Bush, Sr. and Clinton, Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford, Lenny Kravitz, Mother Teresa, Jane Goodall and Hugh Jackman. His award-winning advertising campaigns and corporate projects for global brands include Chevrolet, FedEx, Nikon, GE, Chevron, HP, Coca Cola, Emirates Airlines, Charles Schwab and Microsoft.

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