Bruce Davidson, Subject: Contact

May 02, 2019 to June 15, 2019
Bruce Davidson, Subject: Contact
41 East 57th Street
New York - 10022 NY
BRUCE DAVIDSON, SUBJECT: CONTACT will present contact sheets in context with vintage prints from four seminal projects from the 1950s and '60s - Circus, Brooklyn Gang, Time of Change, and East 100th Street - illustrating Davidson's connection to some of the 20th century's most important social, cultural, and political moments. The exhibition will be on view at Howard Greenberg Gallery from May 2 through June 15, with an opening reception attended by the artist to be held on Thursday, May 2 from 6-8 p.m.

Poetic and profound, powerful and tender, Davidson's work derives its strength from the unique and long-lasting relationships he developed with his subjects, first gaining their trust, then allowing them to open up to him and his camera, before documenting their lives. "I stand to the side respectfully until I am invited in," Davidson has said. "There is a lot of patience and stillness in the making of a photograph."

Providing a rare glimpse into the photographer's immersive process, Davidson's contact sheets from each series will be presented together with a selection of related vintage prints, allowing viewers to see the connection between images in sequence as a work in progress and how the photographer made his final selections.

Davidson's deep personal engagement with his subjects sets his work apart. Through close proximity, he captured more than just an image; his contact sheets suggest something much more emotive about the connections he made. SUBJECT: CONTACT bridges the divide between the personal and the professional: between Davidson's heart, his eye, the camera lens and the film. In revealing more of Davidson's creative process, the exhibition expands the viewer's appreciation of how his aesthetic and technical mastery resulted in the creation of some of the most powerful, personal images of his time.

1958: Circus
In the late 1950s, big top circuses were slowing disappearing across the American landscape as audiences began staying home to watch television. In 1958, at the age of 24, Davidson was encouraged to visit the mammoth three-ring circus at the Palisades Amusement Park, where he spent weeks immersing himself in the everyday world of its performers. Drawn to backstage candid experiences, he depicted with dignity the loneliness and triumphs of lion tamers, a human cannonball, and, most famously, Jimmy Armstrong, a dwarf clown, who would come to be a close friend of Davidson's. The photographs became the first installment of the series Circus (which he revisited in 1965 and 1967).

1959: Brooklyn Gang
During the summer of 1959, having read about street fighting in Brooklyn, Davidson went in search of a gang to photograph. He found a group of rebellious teenagers called "The Jokers" and became one of the first photographers to explore and ingratiate himself with the alienated youth culture they represented. Says Bob (Bengie) Powers, one of Davidson's subjects who reminisced about this work decades later, "He was interested in us. Just as people. And he was nice to us." Davidson stayed close, stayed for months, and captured this nuanced world of outsiders. "They allowed me to be with them and just hang out. I saw their reality," noted Davidson.

1961-1965: Time of Change
In 1961, Davidson joined a group of Freedom Riders on the bus ride to Mississippi, as much a participant as he was a photographer. His photographs from this critical moment in American history depict the struggle for justice and equality during a time of protests, marches and police violence as it unfolded around him. He captured the heart of the Civil Rights Movement through 1965 with photographs of the era from Harlem to Chicago and through the South including the crowds at the 1963 March on Washington, scenes from the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March, protesters in action, as well as quieter moments during turbulent times. Witnessed and shot at close range, Davidson has said: "I felt I was part of something, not apart from it."

1966-1968: East 100th Street
From 1966-68, Davidson spent two years documenting the neglected block, dire social conditions, and residents of East 100th Street in Manhattan. "My way of working," Davidson has said, "is to enter an unknown world, explore it over a period of time, and learn from it." To gain trust, he befriended 18-year-old José Rosa and made contact respectfully, by knocking on doors with Rosa and connecting with the East Harlem community before taking a single picture. By meeting people eye-to-eye, his enduring portrait of a neglected subculture is suffused with humanity and depth.

Bruce Davidson

With a career spanning more than 60 years, Bruce Davidson is one of America's most distinguished photographers. Born in 1933 in Oak Park, Illinois, he began taking photographs at the age of ten. He attended Rochester Institute of Technology and Yale University, where he studied with artist Josef Albers and Alexey Brodovitch, best-known for his art direction at Harper's Bazaar. Davidson was later drafted into the army and stationed near Paris where he met Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the founders of the renowned cooperative photography agency Magnum Photos.

After his military service, Davidson worked as a freelance photographer for LIFE magazine and in 1959 became a member of Magnum, producing photo essays that would leave a lasting mark. In 1963, the Museum of Modern Art in New York presented his early work in a solo exhibition, the first of several. Upon completion of a body of work on the American Civil Rights Movement, he received the first grant for photography from the National Endowment for the Arts. His work has been exhibited at major institutions including The Museum of Modern Art and the International Center of Photography in New York, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. He has received many grants, awards, and fellowships in addition to an honorary doctorate in fine arts from the Corcoran School of Art and Design. His photographs have appeared in numerous publications, and his work is the subject of many books. A new book, Bruce Davidson: Unseen, will be published by Steidl in 2020. He lives in New York City.

Ending Soon Photo Exhibitions

Richard Avedon: Relashionships
Richard Avedon: Relashionships
Drawn from the Richard Avedon collection at the Center for Creative Photography, Richard Avedon: Relationships presents eighty portrait and fashion...
  Learn More
Nick Waplington: Living Room
Nick Waplington: Living Room
In 1991, Aperture published Nick Waplington's first book, Living Room, to great critical acclaim. A major exhibition followed at their 23rd Street...
  Learn More
Focus On Visibility: Artist in Residence Exhibition
Focus On Visibility: Artist in Residence Exhibition
The Image Flow proudly presents Focus On Visibility: Artist in Residence Exhibition, a two-person exhibition featuring the work of Francis Baker and...
  Learn More
Jess T. Dugan: To Survive on This Shore
Jess T. Dugan: To Survive on This Shore
Presented by the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art at Colorado State University in collaboration with the Center for Fine Art Photography, the exhibition...
  Learn More
Zheng Guogu: Photoworks 1993-2016
Zheng Guogu: Photoworks 1993-2016
Eli Klein Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of works by Zheng Guogu (b. 1970), an artist whose work responds to the rapid social and...
  Learn More
Where We Find Ourselves: The Photographs of Hugh Mangum, 1897-1922
Where We Find Ourselves: The Photographs of Hugh Mangum, 1897-1922
Self-taught photographer Hugh Mangum was born in 1877 in the newly incorporated, tobacco- fueled boomtown of Durham, NC. As an itinerant portraitist...
  Learn More
Christopher Colville: FLUX
Christopher Colville: FLUX
"The photograph is essentially a transformation orchestrated by an artist," is the ...
  Learn More
Larson Shindelman
Larson Shindelman
The George Eastman Museum has invited Nate Larson (American, b. 1978) and Marni Shindelman (American, b. 1977) to create a body of work specific to...
  Learn More
Beyond Truth: Photography after the Shutter
Beyond Truth: Photography after the Shutter
Just how truthful is photography? Despite the ability to manipulate selfies on our cell phones, many of us cling to the illusion that the medium has...
  Learn More
Recent Acquisitions: Photography and Abstraction
Recent Acquisitions: Photography and Abstraction
Abstraction is a complicated endeavor for photography. How does one move towards pure form—the visible divorced from any content—in a medium that is...
  Learn More
Irving Penn
Irving Penn
"In 1967 there was word coming out of San Francisco of something stirring-new ways of living that were exotic even for California. People spoke of a...
  Learn More
Botanical
Botanical
Established in May, 2010, A Smith Gallery is located in Johnson City, Texas in the Nugent Avenue Arts District. The gallery exhibits the work of both...
  Learn More
Louis Stettner: Traveling Light
Louis Stettner: Traveling Light
Over the course of his eight-decade career, Louis Stettner created a singular approach to photographing everyday life. Born in Brooklyn in 1922,...
  Learn More
Johannes Brus: New to the Collection
Johannes Brus: New to the Collection
On the occasion of an important acquisition to the photography collection, SFMOMA presents the first U.S. solo exhibition of German artist Johannes...
  Learn More
Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing
Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing
Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) is recognized as one of the most important photographers of the twentieth century, and her insightful and compassionate...
  Learn More
Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings
Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings
Photographer Sally Mann explores what it means to be Southern. For more than 40 years, Mann (born 1951) has made experimental, hauntingly beautiful...
  Learn More
David Bailey: SUMO
 
 
David Bailey: SUMO
 
Join our newsletter
Be up-to-date with call for entries, deadlines and other news about exhibitions, galleries, publications, & special events
 
Discover the 6th Issue of AAP Magazine
All About Photo Magazine showcases the winners of AAP Magazine Competitions
 
 
 
The Jules Maeght Gallery is a contemporary art gallery who seeks to engage the San Francisco community by infusing European artists, young and established alike, into a diverse, multimedia dialogue.
 
TAKES U TO THE NEXT LEVEL
 
Since 2005, your guide through contemporary art from a French perspective to let you make exciting choices