AmericaNewsMeryl Meisler – Purgatory & Paradise: SASSY ’70s Suburbia & The City Exhibition and Book Launch

Bizarre Publishing and Black Box Gallery present Purgatory & Paradise: SASSY '70s Suburbia & The City, Meryl Meisler’s book launch and exhibition.
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Meryl Meisler | Bizarre Publishing | Dodho Magazine

Bizarre Publishing and Black Box Gallery present Purgatory & Paradise: SASSY ’70s Suburbia & The City, Meryl Meisler’s book launch and exhibition.

Bizarre Publishing & Black Box Gallery

12 Jefferson Street, Brooklyn, NY 11206

Dates of Exhibit: June 5  – September 5, 2015

Her first book A Tale of Two Cities: Disco Era  Bushwick received worldwide attention for contrasting Disco’s zenith and burned out yet beautiful Bushwick. Purgatory & Paradise: SASSY ’70s Suburbia & The City is the prequel, a photographic memoir of a uniquely American story, sweet and sassy with a pinch of mystery.

 Meryl Meisler

Purgatory & Paradise: SASSY ’70s Suburbia & The City juxtaposes intimate images of home life on Long Island alongside NYC street and night life – the likes of which have never been seen. Quirky, nostalgic and a bit naughty, it’s a genuine cultural capsule of a decade that captivates today’s generation. The photos and stories illustrate Meryl’s coming of age: The South Bronx, suburbia, The Mystery Club, dance lessons, Girl Scouts, the Rockettes, the circus, school, mitzvahs, proms, weddings, gay Fire Island, the Hamptons, feminists, happy hookers, CBGB, Punks, Disco, After Hours and Go-Go Bars, Jewish and LGBT Pride, street life, home theatrics, holidays, friendship, family and love. She had to photograph it all to make sense of it, hold onto the time, release and now finally share it. The ’70s were sassy, but also sweet, and so was Meryl.

Meryl’s introduction to purgatory began with a 1957 childhood incident, being told “You can never go to heaven, the best you can do is purgatory” because she was Jewish. That’s when Meryl learned about purgatory, and the importance of being open minded and not pre-judging people. Meryl moved to NYC in 1975, with her first paycheck she bought an antique edition of Dante’s Purgatory & Paradise illustrated by Gustave Doré. She needed to “own it” literally and figuratively.

 Meryl Meisler

Meryl carried her medium format camera everywhere with great delight – photographing the world she knew on Long Island– donning childhood uniforms and costumes for self-portraits, comedic insider views of family and friends homes, the hilarity of her parents’ Mystery Club circle. “Not in mine eyes alone is Paradise,” declares Dante in Paradiso. Many viewed ‘70s NYC as hell, purgatory at best. With an open mind and heart, Meryl found paradise photographing the streets and nightlife of The City, many so wild she never dared to show them until now.

Purgatory & Paradise: SASSY ’70s Suburbia & The City

Photography and text by Meryl Meisler

Introduction by Catherine Kirkpatrick

Design by Patricia Jean O’Brien

Writing by Esther Cohen, Dr. Ernest Drucker, Amy Leffler and Emanuel Xavier


Photography / the 1970s / NYC / Long Island / Suburbia / Streetlife / Nightlife

Hardcover – 8.5 x 11 inches

256 pages, 241 B&W photographs

ISBN: 978-0-9910141-3-2

$45.00 USA/CAN