Meryl Meisler

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Fruit-Powered Chandeliers, Brooklyn Drag Art, and Other Art Happenings

"SELF REFLECTION" The Untitled Space Gallery, New York

(image courtesy of Milk & Night Curatorial)

Self-Reflection
Opening Tuesday September 27 at The Untitled Space, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through October 8. 

No less than 21 female artists will descend upon Tribeca art gallery The Untitled Space this Tuesday for the show “Self-Reflection.” Their art spans multiple genres, but all pieces will focus on some form of self-portrait, using the artists’s own bodies as a tool for creation. These self-portraits aren’t the typical depiction of oneself; some are even constructed through wool tapestry weaving. Rather than being potrayed by others, where objectification and the pesky male gaze can run rampant, these women will take their bodies into their own hands (in some cases, literally) to construct a self that feels authentic to them, however that might manifest. Some photograph themselves, some use images of their own nude form for painting references– either way, it’s all them.

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The Burbs Before Bushwick: Meryl Meisler Straddles ’70s Long Island and Downtown

Elda (Gentile) Stilletto and Guitarist at CBGB, NY, NY April 1978 (Photo: © Meryl Meisler)

Elda (Gentile) Stilletto and Guitarist at CBGB, NY, NY April 1978 (Photo: © Meryl Meisler)

Meryl Meisler turned heads last year with her photographs of Bushwick in the late ’70s and early ’80s, when the neighborhood was racked by arson, economic crisis, and crime, epitomized in the chaos of the 1977 blackout. Nevertheless, her photos were filled with as much liveliness as the dance floor at Studio 54 (which the photographer also documented). As a local school teacher, Meisler saw beyond the blight, connecting with the community in spite of the neighborhood’s troubles. But her photos are just as much a conduit for nostalgia as they are a memo for the present and seem as relevant as ever for the neighborhood as it continues to go through immense change. Now our initial obsession the photographer’s work has been rewarded with a new book, Purgatory & Paradise: Sassy ’70s Suburbia & the City.

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Meryl Meisler and A Tale of Two Cities: Disco Era Bushwick!

Meryl Meisler worked as a school teacher in cracked-out, riot-prone 80s Bushwick—but she also carried a medium format camera everywhere she went, snapping epic photos of the ‘hood. Now, she’s collected those pictures, and placed them alongside her photographs of disco-fevered Manhattan in the same era. Together, the two sets of images offer a riotous portrait of two different universes in one city—at once hopelessly divided, and disconcertingly similar. Join Meisler for a special presentation of her work. She’ll also be signing copies.

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Bushwick History Photo Walk with Meryl Meisler

We all know Bushwick has changed, but none of us more so than Meryl Meisler. The photographer, who worked as an art teacher in Bushwick from the early ’80s, recalls that at the time the neighborhood “looked like the photographs that I had seen of Beirut.”  She set about capturing the life among the ruins. Now, perfectly safely, you can join the photographer for a tour of her current exhibition of “Disco Era Bushwick” photographs, and a walking tour of the neighborhood. Bring a camera.

War, Marxism, Nannies and Crime: Serious Stuff at This Week’s Talks and Walks

If the fun and frippery of summer are wearing you out already, explore a darker side of life at these readings, talks, and historical walks.

Tuesday, June 17

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The Syrian Refugee Crisis with Diego Cupolo and Rahawa Haile
Photojournalist Diego Cupolo has documented sinister environments and the tough lives lived in them from Bushwick to Montevideo. Tonight at WORD, he discusses his recently released book, Seven Syrians: War Accounts From Syrian Refugees. Cupolo painstakingly records the lives of survivors of the current conflict, combining text and photos into a series of compelling portraits. He’ll be in discussion with Brooklyn-based writer/essayist Rahawa Haile.
WORD Bookstore (126 Franklin St), Greenpoint. 7pm. Free. Facebook RSVP encouraged.
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‘There’s Beautiful Light’: Meryl Meisler’s Snapshots of Disco-Era Bushwick

(All photos: Meryl Meisler)

The ’70s were a wild time to be in Bushwick: following a major blackout in 1977, shops and homes were devastated in a wave of riots and looting. Meryl Meisler began teaching art at a public school there in 1981 and spent her early adulthood capturing both the hedonistic disco scene of Manhattan and the bombed-out streets of de-industrializing North Brooklyn. The native New Yorker’s snapshots, taken during the height of the city’s crack epidemic, will go on display Friday as part of Bushwick Open Studios.
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