(American, b. 1933)
Gelatin silver print
Paper: 35.6 x 27.9 cm (14 x 11 in.)
Gift of an anonymous donor 2018.757
© Bruce Davidson/Magnum Photos
One of Davidson’s best-known series, Brooklyn Gang was inspired by a news story about a teenage gang called the Jokers.
The Jokers’ slicked-back pompadours, like the one being carefully combed here, and their clothing echoed the greaser style, a rebellious youth subculture that was promoted by cinematic antiheroes of the era. Role models included Marlon Brando’s portrayal of a motorcycle gang member in The Wild One (1953) and James Dean as a troubled teen in Rebel without a Cause (1955). The “bad boy” image flouted the aspirational role model of the time, the upwardly mobile white-collar worker in a business suit and short haircut.
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