Diane Arbus exhibition coming to London’s Hayward Gallery next spring

Show of early works by the US photographer will coincide with first Kader Attia survey in the UK

Diane Arbus's Jack Dracula at a bar, New London, Conn. (1961) Courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York/ Copyright © The Estate of Diane Arbus, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Images of fire eaters, society ladies and street urchins are due to come to London’s Hayward Gallery next spring in an exhibition on the US photographer Diane Arbus. The New Yorker is widely known for her black-and-white, square format photographs of New York outsiders and eccentrics, such as a gurning child holding a toy grenade or a portrait of a man wearing hair curlers.

The exhibition at the Hayward, titled In the Beginning (13 February-6 May 2019), will concentrate on works from the artist’s early career, 1956 to 1962, such as the striking portrait of the topless and heavily tattooed Jack Dracula in a bar in Conneticut. The exhibition will focus "on the first seven formative years of Diane Arbus, a crucial period during which she develops the idiosyncratic style for which she has been praised for," says the gallery's senior curator Vincent Honoré. At the time, Arbus still shot using a grainy 35mm film. She would later say she was “dealing mostly in dark and light, not so much in flesh and blood”.

The exhibition has been organised by New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and will include more than 100 photographs, mostly from the Diane Arbus Archive, many of which have never been shown in Europe before.

Running alongside the Arbus exhibition will be the first major UK survey of the Berlin-based artist Kader Attia. In the Museum of Emotion, the artist who grew up in France and Algeria, will explore how “Western colonialism has shaped not only how we see other cultures but also how identities are constrained in our own societies”, according to a press statement.