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The Boston Globe

Theater & art


Finding community in a small space at the MFA

If a museum is a sort of city, then one of its galleries is like a city block or street. So the single-gallery snugness of “Bruce Davidson: East 100th Street” feels just right. These smallish black-and-white pictures about a smallish area belong in a smallish space. Most are a little more than 6 inches by 8 inches. The show runs through Sept. 8 at the Museum of Fine Arts.

East 100th Street is in East Harlem. It was a bad neighborhood, though far from the worst, when Davidson started making daily visits in 1966 with his large-format camera to photograph there. He’d keep going for another two years. The Museum of Modern Art showed 43 of the photographs in 1970. In 2011, the MFA purchased the prints that had been in the MoMA show. Those photographs, along with a copy of Davidson’s 1970 book, “East 100th Street” and a maquette for the book, make up the show.

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