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What happens when a performing actor leaves behind his lines, staging, sets, and lighting, and steps beyond the fourth wall? For three years, Amy Arbus has been exploring this question in a series of dramatic portraits of celebrated actors, both on and off Broadway. Fully costumed but stripped of their context, Arbus's actors remain in character as they step outside the fiction of theater into the reality of the world beyond. Staged in anonymous public spaces--in theater lobbies, on city streets, in parks, and in stage door alleys--Arbus's images achieve an unexpected blend of spectacle and high art; formality and sontaneity; vulnerability and pretense.
Collected in The Fourth Wall are some of the modern stage's most gifted actors, including Alan Cumming in Cabaret, John Malkovitch in Lost Land, Liev Schreiber in Talk Radio, Ed Harris in Wrecks, Cherry Jones in Doubt, Christine Ebersol in Grey Gardens, and Ethan Hawke and Martha Plimpton in The Coast of Utopia. Actors are included from such successful and ambitioud productions as Wicked, The Light in the Piazza, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and The Color Purple, to name but a few. Portraits are accompanied by synopses of the plays as well as quotes from a number of the actors portrayed.
In 2006's critically acclaimed book On the Street, Arbus focused her lens on those who dressed to express themselves--now she turns her attention to those who dress to become someone else. The result is a collection of potent photographs that pay remarkable tribute to contemporary theater and the performers who bring fantasy to life.
About the Author
Amy Arbus has been photographing professionally for twenty-seven years. She is a contributing photographer to New York Magazine's theater section. Her photograph of The House in Town was included in the PDN Annual 2007 as one of the top twenty-five photographs of the year. Her photographs have appeared in over one hundred periodicals around the world, including The New Yorker, Aperture, People, and The New York Times Magazine. Her most recent book of photographs, On the Street, was published by Welcome Books in 2006. She has exhibited her photography worldwide in more than eighteen one-woman exhibitions, and her photographs are a part of the collections at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.