Meisler exhibits open at UMaine Zillman Art Museum May 19

The University of Maine Zillman Art Museum in downtown Bangor will open two exhibits featuring the work artist Meryl Meisler, an American photographer known for documenting New York City life in the 1970s and 1980s, on May 19.  

“Meryl Meisler: 70s Suburban Sensibilities — Friends & Family,” features Meisler’s photographs of family life in 1970s suburban homes. The images in the series are steeped in humor, with Meisler’s lively friends and colorful family members photographed amid the over-the-top interior decor prevalent in many 1970s suburban homes. According to Meisler, “My parents and their friends were fun-loving, adventurous people. Like many victims of centuries of bigotry and oppression, the Jewish people might have developed a strong sense of humor as a survival mechanism.” The exhibit will be open until Aug. 19. 

“Meryl Meisler: Nightlife NYC, 1977–2024” is a series in which she immersed herself in the New York City nightlife scene to photograph the revelry and hedonism of its partygoers. In the 1970s and early 1980s, Meisler photographed fashionable late night revelers at legendary clubs like Studio 54, Copacabana, Paradise Garage, Hurrah, Xenon, GG’s Barnum Room and CBGB. Meisler’s monogamous relationship and full-time art teaching job, as well as the onset of the AIDS epidemic, prompted her to slow down her foray into nightlife culture around 1981. A 2014 encounter at the drag and burlesque bar BIZARRE in Bushwick, however, inspired her to document the new scene, which emphasized inclusion, costumed spectacles and over-the-top revelry. The exhibit will be open until Sept. 2. 

The Zillman Art Museum, located at 40 Harlow St., is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday–Saturday. Admission is free this year thanks to the generosity of Birchbrook.