The Month in Art

Greatest Hits

On June 27 the line to get in the Kimbell Art Museum, in Fort Worth, will probably resemble more closely that of a megaplex theater, and for good reason. It’s the opening day of the summer blockbuster exhibit, “Caravaggio to Dali: One Hundred Masterpieces from the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art,” and the show boasts as many stars as a Robert Altman movie—Zurbarán, Hals, Goya, Monet, Cézanne, Picasso, Dalí, and Ernst, to name a few— as well as memorable scenes. Buy your tickets now. (See Fort Worth: Museums )

Moving Pictures

Though Diane Arbus was already a superstar in art circles by the time of her suicide, in 1971, she didn’t get a major museum retrospective until 1972, when the Museum of Modern Art, in New York, organized a show in her honor. Her famous images—often of carnival performers, nudists, transvestites, or prostitutes—spawned imitators and changed portrait photography forever. Remarkably, only a fraction of Arbus’s work is well known. In fact, for many years, not much was understood about the artist’s life; the gossip following her death led her eldest daughter, Doon, to refuse nearly every outside request to study Arbus’s estate, which contained letters and other personal effects. On June 27 the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, will open “Diane Arbus Revelations,” the most complete survey of her work ever assembled. All the recognizable photos will be on display, as well as many images that have never been exhibited publicly. But perhaps as important as the photographs themselves is the accompanying compilation by Doon and curator Elisabeth Sussman of previously unpublished notebook entries, snapshots, contact sheets, and letters—an attempt to let viewers draw their own conclusions about Arbus without any outside interpretation to affect the view. (See Houston: Museums )

Portrait Studio

If you’ve ever watched an episode of Little House on the Prairie (your secret is safe with us), then you have some visual cue of what frontier life was like. Laura Ingalls’ story was set in Kansas, but truth be told, things here in Texas weren’t much different, as evidenced by the Fort Griffin Fandangle , a musical history of the area around Albany. Since 1938, locals have participated in this annual production, and during the last two weeks in June, it’s not uncommon to see women wearing long prairie dresses or children dressed in Native American ensembles scurrying to the Prairie Theatre, west of town. Sound a little surreal? It is. Which made the scene all the more disposed for a photo shoot. On June 5 the Old Jail Art Center, in Albany, will open “Fandangle Photographs by Michael O’Brien,” glorious portraits of the musical’s participants from two years ago shot by one of the state’s best photographers. A more fitting tribute to the Fandangle tradition would be difficult to imagine. (See Albany: Museums )

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