Aperture Foundation is pleased to announce the highly anticipated re-release of Bruce Davidson’s iconic Subway (September, 2011)—a groundbreaking series documenting a unique moment in the cultural fabric of New York City, coinciding with an exhibition on view at Aperture Gallery. First published in 1986, Davidson’s classic series has since garnered critical acclaim for its phenomenal use of extremes of color and shadow set against flash-lit skin. In the artist’s own words, “People in the subway, their flesh juxtaposed against the graffiti, the penetrating effect of the strobe light itself, and even the hollow darkness of the tunnels, inspired an aesthetic that goes unnoticed by passengers who are trapped underground, hiding behind masks, and closed off from each other.”
In this third edition, a sequence of 118 images (including twenty-five never-before-published photographs) moves the viewer through a landscape sometimes menacing, at other times lyrical, soulful, and satiric. The images include the full panoply of New Yorkers—from weary straphangers and languorous ladies in summer dresses to stalking predators and the homeless. Davidson’s accompanying text tells the story behind the images, clarifying his method and dramatizing his experience. He details his obsession with the subway, its rhythms, and its particular madness. His naked prose, together with his compelling images, evoke the speeding sensation of a subway car, tunneling out of the darkness into new light and unmistakable beauty. Includes an introduction by Fred Braithewaite (Fab 5 Freddy) and an afterword by Henry Geldzahler.
BRUCE DAVIDSON (born in Oak Park, Illinois, 1933) is considered one of America’s most influential documentary photographers. He began taking photographs when he was ten, and studied at the Rochester Institute of Technology and the Yale University School of Design. In 1958 he became a member of Magnum Photos, and in 1961, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship to document the civil rights movement. After a solo exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1966, followed by a National Endowment for the Arts grant in 1967, Davidson spent two years photographing in East Harlem, resulting in East 100th Street. In 1980, after living in New York City for twenty-three years, Davidson began his startling color essay of urban life in Subway. He received a second National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1980 and an Open Society Institute Individual Fellowship in 1998. His work has been shown at the International Center of Photography, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Museum Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Museé Réattu, Arles, France; Burden Gallery (Aperture), New York; Parco Gallery, Tokyo; and the New York Historical Society.
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