MASTER TALK : "Finding Gems in the Street"

DATE: Thursday Dec 6th

TIME: 8PM (Followed by book signing)


Meryl Meisler was born 1951 in the South Bronx and raised in North Massapequa, Long Island, NY. Inspired by Diane Arbus and Jacques Henri Lartigue, Meryl began photographing herself, family, and friends while enrolled in a photography class at The University of Wisconsin, Madison. In 1975, Meryl returned to NYC and studied with Lisette Model, continuing to her hometown and the streets of NYC. After working as a freelance illustrator by day, Meryl frequented and photographed the infamous New York Discos. As a 1978 CETA Artist grant recipient, Meryl created a portfolio of photographs exploring her Jewish Identity for the American Jewish Congress. After CETA, Meryl began a 31-year career as a NYC Public School Art Teacher.


Upon retiring from the NYC public school system in 2010, Meisler began releasing large bodies of previously unseen work. Meryl’s first monograph A Tale of Two Cities: Disco Era Bushwick (Bizarre, 2014) received international acclaim. The book juxtaposes her zenith of disco photos with images of the burned out yet beautiful neighborhood of Bushwick, Brooklyn in the 1980s. Her second book, Purgatory & Paradise SASSY ‘70s Suburbia & The City (Bizarre, 2015), contrasts intimate images of home life on Long Island alongside NYC street and night life. She is working on her third book in a trilogy about the 1970s.



Meryl has received fellowships and grants from NYFA, Puffin Foundation, Artists Space, CETA, the China Institute and Japan Society. She’s exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Historical Society, Dia Art Foundation, MASS MoCA, The New Museum, The Whitney Museum and in public spaces including Grand Central Terminal and the NYC subway system. Her work is in the permanent collections of the American Jewish Congress, AT&T, Reuters, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Brooklyn Historical Society, Columbia University, Emory University, Islip Art Museum, and the Library of Congress, and in the artist book collections of Carnegie Melon, Centre Georges Pompidou, Chrysler Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Metronome Library and the Whitney Museum.


Meryl lives and works in New York City, continuing the photographic memoir she began in 1973 – a uniquely American story, sweet and sassy with a pinch of mystery. She is represented by Steven Kasher Gallery.