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Beauty to the Bluntness of Bruce Davidson's Lens, Stanford Arts Review

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The Stanford Arts Review surveys the work of Bruce Davidson now on exhibit at de Young Museum in San Francisco, CA.  42 vintage prints spanning from The Dwarf (1958) through the revisitation of his former neighborhood in 1998--as photographed in the series East 100th Street--are on display through 11 September, 2016.

"There’s a certain beauty to the bluntness of Davidson’s lens. There’s nothing transcendent about Davidson’s work — not in the dictionary sense of the word (hear no hallelujah chorus when you’re viewing his photographs). This is life as it is, the photographs seem to say: gritty, grungy, un-gorgeous. Davidson found this pore and turned an unflinching eye on its subjects. The resultant photographs are transcendent in the sense that they draw their viewers deep into the simultaneous cruelty and beauty of 1960s America.

The de Young’s new exhibit on Davidson’s work, running until September 11th, showcases the photographer’s work in 1960s Los Angeles, New York, and the South during the Civil Rights movement. Across three regions of the country, Davidson managed to provide a concise summary of the decade’s contradictory claims to war and peace." -M. Xiao of Stanford Arts Review

Read the column in it's entirety on 

Artist News, Bruce Davidson "Gifts to the Collection" exhibition at de Young

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Bruce Davidson,  Brooklyn Gang , 1959, 1959. Mid-vintage gelatin silver print. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, gift of Jerri Mattare. © Bruce Davidson/Howard Greenberg Gallery 

Bruce Davidson, Brooklyn Gang, 1959, 1959. Mid-vintage gelatin silver print. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, gift of Jerri Mattare. © Bruce Davidson/Howard Greenberg Gallery 

Bruce Davidson: Gifts to the Collection
27 February 2016 – 11 September 2016

Bruce Davidson (American, b. 1933) is one of the most influential photographers of the last half century. Working in both color and black and white, Davidson has documented subjects ranging from the civil rights movement to the urban grit of Harlem and the New York subway system. This exhibition presents a selection of 42 photographs and celebrates important gifts of vintage prints that will be exhibited for the first time since their acquisition in 2013. 

Davidson is known for his humanist outlook and a desire to engage directly with his subject matter, approaches that owe much to his early artistic influences in photography, including Robert Frank, W. Eugene Smith, and Henri Cartier-Bresson. Davidson’s projects include The Dwarf (1958), Brooklyn Gang (1959), and Time of Change (1961–1965), the latter of which chronicles the events and effects of the civil rights movement in both the North and the South. In East 100th Street (1970), he documented a conspicuously poverty-stricken block in East Harlem over the course of two years. Davidson followed this with Subway (1980), and in 1998 he returned to East 100th Street to document the revitalization, renewal, and changes in the neighborhood that occurred since he had last photographed the neighborhood. All of these significant series are represented in Bruce Davidson: Gifts to the Collection.