6sqft’s ongoing series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Meryl Meisler captures the artists and performers of Bushwick’s bar and event space Bizarre. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].
When he moved to NYC, French filmmaker Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire squatted in a boarded up Bushwick building until he eventually owned it. Along with friend Gregory Baubeau, he decided to turn the building into a bar, performance space, and gallery inspired by the wild stories of Greenwich Village’s underground, avant-garde Café Bizarre. Their own BIZARRE opened in 2013, and shortly thereafter they exhibited photographer Meryl Meisler’s iconic shots of the neighborhood in the glam/gritty ’70s and ’80s.
Now, Meisler has come together with Sauvaire and Baubeau for a new exhibition that showcases the “assorted madness and the unexpected” of present day BIZARRE. They’ve shared their energetic photos with 6sqft, capturing all those who make the venue special–the acrobats, artists, burlesque, circus, drag kings and queens, fire spinners, magicians, musicians, poets, patrons and more–and Meisler has given us the inside scoop on this unique scene.
See the collection here
6sqft’s ongoing series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment photographer Meryl Meisler documents the current artists and creatives of Bushwick. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].
Earlier this year, TIME included Meryl Meisler on their list of “the greatest unsung female photographers of the past century,” not surprising considering the great success she’s had with her first monograph, “Disco Era Bushwick: A Tale of Two Cities,” which documents the glam/gritty 1970s and ‘80s (more on that here). Now, after more than 40 years, she realized that Bushwick won’t always be the artistic hub she’s come to know and love, and therefore needed documentation. In her new exhibition “Bushwick Chronicle” (on view at Stout Projects until October 30th) she returns to her analog roots of printing in the dark room to display photos of “the artists, gallerists, journalists, and organizers of Bushwick.” These images are paired with her illustrative painted photographs of Bushwick from the 1980s, as well as writer and art critic James Panero‘s musings on the area.
Get an inside look at Bushwick Chronicle
The Village People Stepping Out, The Grand Ballroom, NY, NY, June 1978 (l); Three Amigos, Bushwick (r). By Meryl Meisler.
It’s 2015 and Bushwick is on fire. But instead of being lost to the flames of neglect and destruction, buildings are being sold and rented like hotcakes. Photographer Meryl Meisler’s first monograph, “Disco Era Bushwick: A Tale of Two Cities,” published by Bizarre Bushwick gives us an insider’s view of the streets and scenes of New York City during the glam/gritty 1970s and ‘80s when Manhattan’s iconic dance clubs like Studio 54 and Paradise Garage were in their heyday–and there was no brunch to be had in Bushwick.
See more of a bad and bygone Bushwick this way