We’re pleased to announce that ARTIST ROOMS Diane Arbus was successfully launched at the Burton at Bideford on Thursday March 15.

A large crowd attended the VIP event to have a first look at the work. Alongside welcome talks from the team at the Burton at Bideford, which also detailed the youth project that will run alongside the exhibition, an opening address was given by Ceri Lewis, managing curator of ARTIST ROOMS, the national collection and programme owned and managed by Tate and National Galleries of Scotland. She said:

‘ARTIST ROOMS is a touring collection of over 1600 works by more than 40 international artists. The collection is displayed in solo exhibitions – so called ‘ROOMS’ –  featuring the work of major artists of the 20th and 21st centuries:  from Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, to Gerhard Richter and Joseph Beuys, Louise Bourgeois and Diane Arbus. Hugely influential artists whose work changed the nature of art, and in turn, played a part in transforming how we see the world around us.

‘When Diane Arbus died in 1971 at the age of 48, she was a significant influence among serious photographers, but only a handful of her most important pictures were more widely known.  Her retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art in 1972, a year after her death, offered the public its first encounter with the breadth and power of her achievements  – to an unprecedented response. Her subject matter and her approach were recognised as revolutionary.

‘After nearly half a century, the impact of her photographs remains undiminished. Her images are bold, direct. They are penetrating and disturbing. They continue to inspire controversy, and can make you feel very uncomfortable. Viewing her portraits has the force of a personal encounter, and their impact stays with you. Her photographs are as universal as they are startling.

‘Standing here today at the Burton at Bideford, surrounded by Arbus’s photographs, also has another significance. Rather than us needing to travel to The Museum of Modern Art in New York, to London or other international cities around the world to experience her work, we are here in Bideford. And here, people are able to come to their local gallery to see the work of this singular artist – certainly one of the most important photographers of the 20th century.’

The exhibition runs from March 17 until June 11 and is free.