We love Meryl Meisler, the New York-born photographer who documented Bushwick, Manhattan and Long Island in the disco era. And HBO’s new show, Vinyl, has further whetted our appetite for ’70s NYC. So we’re excited to hear that a selection of Meisler’s earliest work will be on display at the Steven Kasher Gallery in Chelsea, starting next Thursday. The exhibition will include a large selection of black-and-white prints taken in some of Manhattan’s mythical disco and punk clubs (CBGBs, Studio 54, Les Mouches, Hurrah) and in her hometown of Massapequa, affectionately coined “Matzo-Pizza” by the locals for its large Jewish and Italian population. It’s an urban-suburban milieux worthy of Richie Finestra himself.
Boobie Trap still holds the record for most synthetic breasts in a bar, but last night Birdy’s and Happyfun Hideaway hosted the real deal. Boobs of Bushwick, the group known for going topless around the neighborhood and uploading shots to Tumblr, bounced into Birdy’s for some foosball at around 11 p.m., followed by Jenga at Happyfun Hideaway.
In the late 1990s, Catherine Opie drove across the country, taking photos of lesbian families in and around their homes. The resulting series, Domestic, (which Opie, who herself is gay, said was an attempt to document “the lesbian dream’’) contains a still life of a washer and dryer, which the photographer joked was “a lesbian washer and dryer.” Because, as she put it, “it’s the same thing.” An ongoing pair of solo exhibitions, Portraits and Landscapes and 700 Nimes Road, at the Lehmann Maupin gallery locations in Chelsea and on the Lower East Side, respectively, also readjust our expectations about the artist and her long-held role as a “provocateur.”
Patrons and staff gathered at Sway to bid bye bye as the downtown bar passed on to the next world, joining its brethren in depraved bar heaven. Group portrait artist Nick McManus was on hand to capture the mournful revelry of Sway’s last night on earth with instant snapshots from The Impossible Project, á la a young Ryan McGinley at Lit Lounge (RIP).
Thomas Roma, the author of In the Vale of Cashmere, is featured in the first iteration of a new video series spotlighting photographers and their work produced by the Steven Kasher Gallery, where Roma’s accompanying exhibition runs through December 23. The photographer, a Brooklyn native and founder of Columbia University’s photography program, has spent the last few decades of his career documenting Brooklyn with an inexhaustible passion for the people who make the borough such a diverse and fascinating place.
To honor the 20th anniversary of New York Girls and the re-release of Richard Kern‘s first book, the East Village photographer and Cinema of Transgression filmmaker is running two concurrent gallery shows– one is in Chelsea and the second opens tonight at Marlborough Broome on the Lower East Side. I stopped by the gallery yesterday to check out the photos and speak with Kern.
“It was so long ago, almost seems like somebody else did it,” he laughed. “It was definitely a different time period.” When I arrived, I found Kern sitting quietly at the front desk. I was late but, as he explained later, I’d given him a chance to catch up on Instagram.
Legendary downtown photographer Richard Kern takes us back to 1995, the year he released his first, New York Girls. Back then, the East Village was still a place where getting mugged wasn’t unusual (it happened to Kern five times over the years) and Williamsburg, he recalled was still “rough.” Both neighborhoods provided the backdrop for his nude portraits of gun-toting, cigarette-smoking tattooed babes– the quintessential fantasy of New York York tough girls. “At the time, someone said in a review, ‘New York girls are tattooed and rough-looking and LA girls are blonde and enhanced,'” Kern recalled. The show features unreleased photographs spanning the ’80s through the mid-’90s, with the added bonus of never-before-screened Super 8 footage from the photo shoots.
We had the pleasure of speaking with Kern about what happened to the women in his photographs, how Instagram has changed his career, and the why he went from making edgy, “drug-infused” films to shooting mostly nude still portraits. Read more here.
Ryan McGinley’s seventh opening at Team Gallery was just like all the others: at any given moment, there were just as many people on Grand Street as in the gallery – a fact that did not go unnoticed by the uniformed and undercover cops who rolled by to tell the mob of downtown scenesters to clear the sidewalk and bike lane.
Like many Brooklynites, Prospect Park is my go-to, but the awesomely named Vale of Cashmere– a relatively isolated area on the east side of the park and the subject of photographer Thomas Roma’s new book– didn’t sound familiar at all. To outsider eyes like mine, the Vale (depending on your taste) is either a beautifully wild or pitifully neglected patch of land, overgrown with disobedient trees and untamed plants, at the center of which there’s a once-elegant fountain clogged with weeds and fetid puddles from years of neglect. Park staff have planted shrubs and flowers there too, lending the area a rotting romanticism.
But the Vale has another history: it’s long been a cruising spot for gay men, but especially gay men of color. Until recently it was considered an open secret, and one that many park powerfuls have decided not to engage, despite demands from elsewhere that they do so (in various ways). While Roma’s series is ultimately a personal exploration of friendship and loss, it’s nearly impossible to unravel his images from questions about what kind of impact a looming project will have on the community that has made this space its own.
The Dogist himself, Elias Weiss Friedman, will be talking with Stacie Grissom of the BarkPost newsletter about the release of The Dogist: Photographic Encounters with 1,000 Dogs. The event is being held in celebration of the book’s release and in recognition of October being Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, so the ASPCA will be there, too, with a few furry friends in need of a home. Strand asks that you please keep your own pooch at home, but BarkBox will be on hand with all the materials you need to make a pup-friendly doggie bag to take home, so you don’t have to feel too bad about Fido missing out. Brews will be on hand from Radiant Pig Craft Beers, so buy a copy of The Dogist or a $15 gift card for admission and stop by Strand for a doggone good time.
See our column Word Up for more of this week’s book signings.
Looking at Abdul Abdullah‘s work alone might not give you every hint necessary to guess immediately where the 29-year-old artist is from. And seeing him in the flesh, t-shirt and jeans, ordering a beer at bar in Greenpoint, gives you even fewer clues to go on. That’s because in the post-9/11 world, Muslims in countries across the world have had to deal with widespread prejudice, demonization, and deeply confused depictions of their religion and culture, experiences that Abdullah confronts head-on in his paintings and photographs. Turns out Abdullah’s from Australia, but his new solo show, Coming to Terms, is a reminder that the problem of Islamophobia is unfortunately still as potent as ever almost everywhere.
Looking at Abdul Abdullah‘s work alone might not give you every hint necessary to guess immediately where the 29-year-old artist is from. And seeing him in the flesh, t-shirt and jeans, ordering a beer at bar in Greenpoint, gives you even fewer clues to go on. That’s because in the post-9/11 world, Muslims in countries across the world have had to deal with widespread prejudice, demonization, and deeply confused depictions of their religion and culture, experiences that Abdullah confronts head-on in his paintings and photographs. Turns out Abdullah’s from Australia, but his new solo show, Coming to Terms, is a reminder that the problem of Islamophobia is unfortunately still as potent as ever almost everywhere. By appointment only, contact Jessica Holburn: email@example.com
Read more here.