Outsider on the Inside
The Queens Museum presents an online audio tour of selected works from Bruce Davidson: Outsider on the Inside, an exhibition that will be available to the public once the Museum reopens. The tour is the first audio tour the Museum has produced on Gesso, a platform for immersive city and museum guides.
The exhibition features more than hundred prints by celebrated photographer Bruce Davidson from a recent Queens Museum acquisition. Spanning from 1959 to 1997, the photographs feature private moments in public spaces throughout New York City and showcase Davidon’s singular ability to chronicle unmediated instances of candor and emotion. As personal moments seep their way into subway cars, parks, street corners and other shared grounds, Davidson observes them with the diligence of an artist-ethnographer while capturing the tenderness and lightness embedded in these ephemeral interactions.
Throughout his career, Davidson has used his camera to record the stories of communities at the periphery of mainstream society, more often than not hostile to outsiders. But rather than a voyeur, Davidson has insisted on creating connections with his subjects. He then shapes these behind-the-lens relationships into unapologetically honest depictions of human nature.
The audio guide, released in advance of the exhibition, presents commentary on select photographs from several of Davidson’s historic series, including Brooklyn Gang (1959), East 100th Street (1970), Subway (1980), Lower East Side (1990) and Central Park (1995).
Bruce Davidson: Outsider on the Inside is organized by Benjamin Mendez, Exhibitions and Archives Fellow 2019 – 2020. Audio tour and interpretation by Amy Raffel, Ph.D.
About Bruce Davidson
Bruce Davidson (b. 1933) was born in Oak Park, Illinois and moved to New York City in 1957. French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908–2004) invited Davidson to join Magnum Photos in 1958, when he was only 23. In 1962, Davidson received a Guggenheim Fellowship and photographed the civil rights movement, which formed his series Time of Change. By the mid sixties, his career had gained traction in both the art world and in mainstream magazines. In 1966, he had a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art, Bruce Davidson, and many of his early photographs were published in Life, Vogue, and Esquire magazines. Today, Davidson is one the most famous documentary photographers in the U.S., well known for his intimate portraits of mundane life across the country.
Gesso is an Audio AR platform for immersive city and museum guides, offering a new way to explore the world. Gesso’s museum guides enable forward-thinking institutions to engage with audiences at home or onsite, comprising audio guides for multiple institutions- all on one platform. Gesso’s goal is to support museums’ missions in making their collections more accessible and inclusive. Museum partners can offer content to visitors in 18 languages (both audio and text) through an experience that only requires a few hours to set up.
Image: Bruce Davidson, from the series Brooklyn Gang, 1959. Gelatin silver print.
Major funding for the Queens Museum is generously provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, the Lambent Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation, and Bank of America. The official hotel sponsor of the Queens Museum is Boro New York.