Bushwick Chronicle: Photography by Meryl Meisler / Writing by James Panero
For more information and images follow the link here.
On view through October 30th.
New York is unsentimental. It pushes and pulls, attracts and repels. The only constant is change.
BUSHWICK CHRONICLE: Photography by Meryl Meisler, Writing by James Panero, an exhibition at Stout Projects opening over
Bushwick Open Studios and on view through October 2016, recognizes Bushwick as a historically significant artistic community now
in need of documentation.
Over the summer of 2016 through a series of open calls, Meryl and James invited the artists, gallerists, journalists, and organizers of
Bushwick to gather for group portraits inspired by Nina Leen’s 1950 portrait of the Abstract Expressionists in “The Irascibles,”
Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’s 1985 series on “The New Irascibles,” and Art Kane’s 1958 portrait of Jazz Musicians in “A Great Day in
Harlem.” These photographs were taken with a medium format camera using black-and-white film, returning Meryl to her analogue
roots and printing in the dark-room. The exhibition of these new photographs is now paired with Meryl’s illustrative painted
photographs of Bushwick from the 1980s on, and James’s writing on the neighborhood.
New York is unsentimental. It pushes and pulls, attracts and repels. The only constant is change. For artists these dynamics can be
particularly extreme, both inspiring and challenging. For a short time in the long history of this neighborhood, Bushwick, Brooklyn
became a place for artists to live, work, and exhibit together. Emerging after the 2008 recession on the periphery of the city’s cultural
center, the arts of Bushwick came to be identified with self-creation: a sudden flowering nurtured by a network of
self-made institutions, from apartment galleries to non-profit collaborations. Just as in Montparnasse a century ago, no one style
dominated the neighborhood’s artistic scene. Instead a spirit of collaboration and DIY experimentation defined it.
As with other historical arts neighborhoods, from Montmartre to Tenth Street, Bushwick will one day cease to be a place of artistic
relevance—not necessarily as artists are pushed out, but as non-artists push in. History is often lost in such transitions, which is why
the Bushwick community now rightly regards documentation as among its important, lasting self-creations.
Meryl Meisler is a photographer who taught art in the Bushwick schools from 1981-1994. Carrying a point & shoot
camera to capture what she saw going to, from, and during work, Meryl created the largest known photographic
documentation of Bushwick during the era. Upon retiring from the NYC public schools, she began releasing large
bodies of previously unseen work. Her monographs A Tale of Two Cities Disco Era Bushwick (Bizarre, 2014) and
Purgatory & Paradise SASSY ‘70s Suburbia & The City (Bizarre, 2015) received international acclaim. Meryl is
represented by Steven Kasher Gallery.
James Panero is the Executive Editor of The New Criterion , here he writes monthly on art and culture ands serves
as the magazine’s gallery critic. His “Gallery Chronicle” column has been praised by writers, artists, and collectors
for its coverage of the outer boroughs of New York and their alternative art scenes. As a curator he has organized
the “The Joe Bonham Project” at Storefront Gallery and “Joe Zucker: Armada” at the National Arts Club.