June 3–December 3, 2023
In 1980, American photographer Bruce Davidson (b. 1933) spent a year traveling the tracks of New York City’s subway system, photographing a full spectrum of people on their rumbling and sometimes gritty journeys through the city. Celebrating a recent gift from the collection of Wanda and Cam Garner, this exhibition presents a range of colorful, visceral, and surprisingly intimate portraits of passengers taken during a notoriously dangerous time in New York City.
Seeking to uncover beauty that habitually goes unnoticed, Subway was Davidson’s first documentary series shot in color. In today’s divided society—suffering from an epidemic of loneliness—these photographs are a reminder of the possibility and power of human connection. As Davidson recalled, “Someone can be standing next to you in the train, and without a word between you, a close bonding occurs. I often approached people in these densely packed trains, and sometimes they would tell me their life stories, or intimate details that I knew no one else knew.”
Support for this exhibition is provided by an anonymous donor, the members of The San Diego Museum of Art, and the County of San Diego Community Enhancement Program. Institutional support for the Museum is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.
Featured at top right: Bruce Davidson, Untitled, Subway, New York, 1980. Dye transfer print. Gift of Wanda and Cam Garner, 2022.59. ©2023 Magnum Photos, Inc. and Bruce Davidson.