In 1966, photographer Jay Maisel purchased the historic Germania Bank Building at the corner of Bowery and Spring in Manhattan for around $100,000 (NY Mag asked whether it might be “the greatest real-estate coup of all time“). For nearly 50 years, he and his family lived in the six-story, 36,000-square-foot building, until he sold it in late 2014 for $55 million. The new documentary Jay Myself examines Maisel’s career and work, using his move out of his longtime home as a focal point. Reviewing the film at DOC NYC in 2018, Bedatri Choudhury wrote that director Stephen Wilkes “pays tribute not only to his idol but also to an older, more whimsical New York that inspired artists like Maisel. Maisel’s sale of the building marks not just his departure from the physical space but also from a milieu that birthed legendary downtown artists like Robert Rauschenberg, Keith Haring, Malcolm and Jasper Johns, all Maisel’s former neighbors. As 35 truckloads of things leave for an industrial storage space, we witness not just an artist anxious about his uprooting, but also the anxiety of a city as it changes beyond recognition.”
Hyperallergic has an exclusive clip from the documentary, in which an Eastman Kodak exec’s introduction for Maisel before a 1989 lecture serves as a quick primer on his life, along with numerous accompanying photographs to demonstrate his style.
Jay Myself opens at Film Forum (209 West Houston St, Manhattan) July 31, with a national expansion to follow. Hyperallergic is giving away 10 pairs of tickets to screenings from July 31 through August 13. Enter below for your chance to win.