November 4, 2011
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Despite the occasional mad rant or impromptu bathing session, riding the MTA today is generally a much tamer prospect than it was in 1980, when Bruce Davidson began documenting the trains and its passengers. Those efforts resulted in the 1986 monograph Subway, celebrated as a frank depiction of a unique and perhaps infamous moment in New York's history. A third and final edition of the book is now available, and to mark its release, the Aperture Foundation gallery has a selection of prints on view. While the work ultimately contributes little to the conversations driving art photography today, it nonetheless stands as an anomaly in both Davidson's work and the longstanding tradition of subway photography, and as such warrants some discussion.