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.
Art + Culture
This is officially the season where all these people who describe themselves as your friends keep calling (on the actual phone, wtf), beckoning you to join them for some really screwed up stuff like BBQs and Beach Bus Excursions. Whatever happened to text messages? Hiding in your apartment for days on end? Unfortunately during summer, such creature comforts are regarded as anti-social, perhaps even dangerous. But if you can make it to these two events, we promise you’ll have a whole heap of excuses to avoid person-on-person contact for the next few months or perhaps even longer, plenty of time for your friends to wrap up their molly bender and quit being so creepy. Reading materials will save you yet.
For the city’s DIY scene, the year 2014 was anything but static– openings, closings, you know the drill. And while one little venue might seem like it’s simply joining the list of short-lived venues and tragic casualties, in all probability, Nola Darling is just getting started.
Can you think of an activity you’ve completed every single day for two years? While I’d struggle to even claim taking a brush to my molars that consistently, South African miniaturist Lorraine Loots extended hers (brush, not molars) to 730 photorealistic watercolor paintings, the prints of which will be on display this Wednesday at Three Kings Studio in Williamsburg.
While wandering from gallery to gallery yesterday in the Lower East Side, soaking up a pair of museum-like nostalgia exhibitions focusing on at least one part if not all of a few-decades long span from Warhol’s Factory days through the ’90s club kid scene, I started thinking about a conversation I’d had with one JJ Brine, Satanic gallerist extraordinaire. Before JJ took off for Vanuatu (btw according to his Facebook page, he made it just fine), he explained he was departing indefinitely because he was frustrated with what he understood as New York City’s unusual fixation on the past at the expense of devoting energy to the future. I couldn’t have agreed more, but somehow The Last Party and Michael Alig’s appropriately-titled solo exhibition, Inside / Out succeed in drawing a line, however crooked, between the past and the present and making this nostalgia part of current existence. How? Well, I felt as though I could almost see myself in some of the blurry old party photos and even the creepy clown-like painted odes to various poisons of choice.
On Tuesday, Matt Nelson and Jacob Perkins, founders of Bushwick independent library and reading room Mellow Pages, announced on Facebook that their literary hangout, in its current form at least, will cease to exist at the end of the month. They’re making like many writers before them and saying later gator to New York City.