From Petra Mason’s review of Meryl Meisler’s exhibiton at The Center for Photography at Woodstock for UNAFRAID:
For over 50 years, photographer Meryl Meisler has ravenously captured fast-paced cultural transitions through her viewfinder. Images of infinitely idealized and romanticized eras — the 70s and 80s in particular – times she refers to as ‘the best of times, the worst of times.’
Then and now, Meisler is rarely seen without her camera. Her solo exhibition at The Center for Photography at Woodstock titled ‘New York PARADISE LOST Bushwick Era Disco’ taps into her sweet spot between time frames and her downtown and Upstate lifestyles.
On a sweltering New York summers day five years back, I took the bus from Grand Central to Meryl Meisler’s archive in a densely wooded area Upstate where the photographer, her designer dog Via (a Poodle Bichon mix) and Patricia O’Brien, her partner for the past 40 years, divide their time between stints in densely populated Manhattan.
Nearby neighbors include writer Luc Sante (of ‘Low-Life’ fame), film-director Jim Jarmusch and not far off, ‘Slaves of New York’ writer Tama Janowitz.
The photographer’s enormous, and enormously neat, archive reveals sheets of color slides with names casually scrawled ‘Bianca, Mick, Halston’ black and white shots of a baby Grace Jones at ‘Studio’ (as Studio 54 was known to regulars), pre-AIDS wild times in Fire Island’s notorious Cherry Grove, mad Mardi Gras nights in New Orleans and more New York City street and nightlife than most would experience in several lifetimes. In the harsh light of today, a stark contrast to our current over-sanitized lifestyle.