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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 taught by Cavalliere Ketchum at The University of Wisconsin, Madison. In 1975, Meryl returned to New York City and studied with Lisette Model, continuing to photograph her hometown and the city around her. 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 which explored her Jewish Identity for the American Jewish Congress. After CETA, Meryl began a 31 year career as a NYC Public School Art Teacher.


Meisler has received fellowships and grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, The Puffin Foundation, Time Warner, Artists Space, C.E.T.A., the China Institute and the Japan Society. Her work has been exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Historical Society, Dia Art Foundation, MASS MoCA, the New Museum for Contemporary Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art and in public spaces including Grand Central Terminal, South Street Seaport and throughout the NYC subway system. Her work is in the permanent collections of the American Jewish Congress, AT&T, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the Brooklyn Historical Society, Columbia University, Islip Art, Library of Congress, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, and can be found in the artist book collections of Carnegie Melon, the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Chrysler Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and Metronome Library.


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.


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.

Steven Kasher Gallery will present a solo-exhibition of Meryl Meislers work in 2016.






American Jewish Congress


Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris

Brooklyn Historical Society

Columbia University

Islip Art Museum

Library of Congress

Metropolitan Transit Authority, New York

New York Hall of Science



Whitney Museum of American Art



Carnegie Melon

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris

Chrysler Museum

Museum of Modern Art

Metronome Library



2016    Meryl Meisler, Steven Kasher Gallery, NY, NY

2016    B&B: Bizarre & Bushwick, Black Box Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

2015     Purgatory & Paradise SASSY ‘70s Suburbia & The City, Black Box Gallery, BK, NY

2014    A Tale of Two Cities Disco Era Bushwick, Black Box Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

2013    Defying Devastation: Bushwick Now & Then, The Living Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

2012    Defying Devastation: Bushwick In The 80s, The Living Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

2011    Here I Am: Bushwick In The 1980s, Soho Photo Gallery, NYC, NY

2009    Locks, Combinations and Keys, PS 122 Gallery, NYC, NY

2005    Deep Research, Columbia University Social Work Library, NYC, NY, Permanent installation

2004    Fire and Ice, AT&T Art and Appreciation public art installation, South Street Seaport, NYC, NY

2001    Submerged, Metropolitan Transit Authority Transit Poster Project

1999    Meryl Meisler: Deep Research, Hopper House, Nyack, NY

1998    Meryl Meisler: Immersions, SUNY Westchester Gallery, Peekskill, NY

1996    Meryl Meisler: Grand Splash, installation at Grand Central Terminal, NY



2014    Signs of Education, (all artists work based on Meisler’s photos), Ventana244 Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

2013    Street Photography 2013, Soho Photo Gallery, NYC, NY

2012    Abandonment, PowerHouse Arena, Brooklyn, NY

2011    An Exchange with Sol Lewitt, MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA

2007    Up From Flames: Mapping Bushwick’s Recovery 1997- 2007, Brooklyn Historical Society, NY

2004    Tomorrow, New York Hall of Science, Queens, NY

2002    WaterWalks, ISE Cultural Foundation, NYC, NY • Ground Zero, Detroit Museum of Contemporary Art

2001    Digital: Revolutions in Printmaking, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY

2000    WomenTek, Peninsula Fine Arts Museum, Newport News, VA

1999    The Time of Our Lives, The New Museum, NYC, NY • The Light Show, Islip Art Museum, Islip, NY

1996    All American Portraits, Naproskovo Museum Prague and Severoceske Museum, Liberec, North Bohemia

1991    AIDS Timeline, Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial Exhibition, NYC, NY



Purgatory & Paradise SASSY ‘70s Suburbia & The City (Bizarre Publishing, 2015)

A Tale of Two Cities Disco Era Bushwick (Bizarre Publishing, 2014)



Photographer Rediscovers There’s No Place Like Home, Renee Ghert-Zend, The Times of Israel, 12/20/15

From settled suburbia to the wild city, Mia De Graaf, Daily Mail, 11/29/15
Famly Photos from the ‘70s show the quirky ways Americans celebrate the holidays, Business Insider, 11/26/15

Purgatory & Paradise: Photographer Contrasts 1970 NYC Nightlife & LI Town, Parco, NY Daily News, 11/19/15

 Meryl Meisler: The World That Summer, Brad Feurhelm, 11/05/15

A Memoir in Photos: New York’s Sassy ‘70s, David Rosenberg, Slate, 11/05/15

Seventies Long Island: The Whole Mishpocha, The New Yorker, 06/03/15

A Tale of Two Cities: Disco Era Bushwick in Photos, Janet Flanagan and Kirsti Itameri, PBS WNET TV, 10/15

Meryl Meisler Explores The History Of A Neighborhood”, James Nichols, Huffington Post 10/23/14

Meryl Meisler’s Vintage NY Photographs, Michael Ernest Sweet, Huffington Post, 08/31/15

Wo bitte llegt Bushwick? Where on Earth is Bushwick? Angelika Hala, 08/22/14

Meryl Meisler’s Disco Era, Genevieve Fussell, The New Yorker, 08/07/14

Stayin’ Alive, Jonathan Mahler, New York Times, 06/13/14

Interview: Meryl Meisler on Disco Era Bushwick, Jeanette D. Moses, 06/09/14

Disco-era Bushwick, Melissa Stern, Hyperallergic, 05/30/14

The Latest Vibe Moved to Brooklyn, Holland Cotter, The New York Times, 06/07/12

New York fur Forgeschrittene, Suzanne Lingemann, Klaus Prompers, German ZDF TV, 08/11/12

Bushwick: Brooklyn’s Newest Frontier, Gabe Pressman, NBC TV, 2/17/11



2014    Puffin Foundation Grant

2002    China Institute Study/Tour of China Fellowship 2001           

            Japan Society Study/Tour of Japan Fellowship

2000    New York Foundation for the Arts Catalogue Project Grant for Women Photographers 1990        

            New York Foundation For The Arts Fellowship in Photography

1979    C.E.T.A. Photographer Grant for The American Jewish Congress, NYC