Synopses & Reviews
“...one of the great snapshot artists of all time. right up there with Garry Winogrand, Elliott Erwitt, Burke Uzzle, and Lee Friedlander.”
—Glenn O’Brien, Artforum
Jeff Mermelstein began photographing Asbury Park, New Jersey, in 1981 on a quest for taffy-rich colors and seedy atmospheres. Mermelstein was mesmerized by the sights: a pink lady at a baby parade; a startled bag lady dressed in red; a cat-show judge named Mr. Friend. Trips to Asbury Park and beyond soon grew to encompass a much broader spectrum of American life from commercial sets, trade shows, and wedding parties, to dog shows, mall grand openings, cocktail parties, and nearly anything jarring, disjointed, or surreal in daily life he encountered in-between.
Magazine assignments led Mermelstein to explore, among other far-out subject matter, the curious sights of animal acting, including legendary four-pawed performers Morris the Cat, Lassie, Benji, the Merrill Lynch bull, the Exxon tiger, and Zippy, a performing chimp. “I can still feel the excitement of hugging Zippy,” Mermelstein recalls, “and watching and photographing him in his bus and as he entertained at a bar mitzvah on Long Island.”
Inspired by these encounters with the odd and unusual, Mermelstein continues to this day to snap up scenes of vivid color, glitz, plastic, and artifice. No Title Here showcases his treasures from over twenty years of canvassing the land in search of the quirky, the absurd, the oddly lyrical, and the sympathetically funny sights it has to offer.
In 1981, Jeff Mermelstein began taking trips to Asbury Park, New Jersey, where he gravitated toward the abundant supply of bizarre characters populating this town made famous by Bruce Springsteen. Drawn to the seedy atmosphere and entranced by the taffy-rich colors, Mermelstein was mesmerized by the sights: a pink lady at a baby parade, a startled bag lady dressed in red, a cat-show judge named Mr. Friend. Things kept getting stranger for Mermelstein, whose first magazine assignment was to photograph animal actors, including legendary four-pawed performers Morris the Cat, Lassie, Benji, the Merrill Lynch bull, the Exxon tiger, and Zippy, a performing chimp. "I still feel the excitement of hugging Zippy, " Mermelstein has noted, "and watching and photographing him in his bus as he entertained at a Bar Mitzvah on Long Island." Inspired by these encounters with the odd and unusual, Mermelstein began to vigorously prowl the streets of New York City during the mid-'80s with some Kodachrome and a flash, snapping up scenes of vivid color, glitz, and plastic artifice. Attracted to the surreal, Mermelstein continued to document outlandish scenes, whether on magazine assignments or on adventures of his own devising--to dog shows, promotional events, and grand openings of malls across this colorful, far-too-colorful-for-words land. NO TITLE HERE catalogues the results of the past twenty years Mermelstein has spent photographing the wacky, the quirky, the off, and the oddly lyrical he has encountered across America.
A bizarre catalogue of the wacky, quirky, oddly lyrical sights of America.