After the financial crisis of the 1970’s decimated New York City’s public programs and infrastructure, the subway in particular was arguably at its nadir in terms of maintenance, upkeep, and crime as the decade came to a close. It was precisely at this moment, however, that Bruce Davidson began photographing it in a sustained and systematic way. The subway he traversed then, from the Bronx down to Coney Island and Rockaway Beach, seems a distant image from the one we ride today. Howard Greenberg and Bruce Davidson sat down recently over Zoom to discuss Davidson’s now-classic project “Subway”. The following conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Howard Greenberg Gallery will open its doors to the exhibition, Bruce Davidson, Subject: Contact ~ 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. The exhibition illustrates Davidson’s connection to some of the 20th century’s most important social, cultural, and political moments.