Nailya Alexander Gallery is pleased to present William Meyers: Civics, on view Wednesday, October 5 through Saturday, October 29 at 41 East 57th Street, New York, NY, Suite 704. The opening reception will take place in the gallery on Wednesday, October 5 from 6:00-8:00 PM. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 AM – 6 PM, and by appointment.
Civics takes as its epigraph a quote from an essay by David and Nathan Tucker: “Civic life is the life we live in dealing with problems of common concern.” (Music and Civic Life in America, 2013) The exhibition, which is divided into four parts, explores the ways in which individual citizens involve themselves in the procedures, rituals, symbols, and rhetoric of American democracy. The first part, Politics, addresses the formal processes for dealing with the issues of civic life, while the second, Demonstrations, probes the manner in which groups make known their particular concerns. Press addresses how these concerns are reported to the public, and Powwows, the final section, is a study of the lectures, conferences, meetings, and social gatherings where problems and plans are discussed.
Meyers’ photographs track more than a decade of New York City’s civic life, from the cramped newsroom of a neighborhood newspaper in Queens in 2002 to the events surrounding the proposed mosque near Ground Zero in 2010, and from the Occupy Wall Street demonstration in 2011 to a rally against the Iran nuclear deal in 2015. The project, Meyers writes, “is not so much about politicians or ideology as it is about the way individual citizens involve themselves in civic processes…Civics is about the organs of government, but also what people take upon themselves to do for the communities in which they live.”
Civics is William Meyers’ second solo show at Nailya Alexander Gallery, and comes on the heels of the success of his series Outer Boroughs: New York Beyond Manhattan, which was the subject of a major exhibition at the New York Public Library in 2015. That same year, the series was published as a book by Damiani. Richard Rivera wrote of Outer Boroughs in the New York Journal of Books, “Meyers’ vision of the city’s open spaces is gritty, detailed, and often stark rather than romanticized…His portrayal of the people of New York is full of character, attitude, and generosity of spirit.”
William Meyers’ work can be found in the collections of the Museum of the City of New York, the New York Public Library, the New York Historical Society, and the Department of the Classics at Harvard University. Meyers writes about photography regularly for The Wall Street Journal, and has lectured on photography and served on panels at the International Center of Photography, the City University of New York, the State University of New York, Long Island University, and the National Foundation for Jewish Culture.
William Meyers lives and works in New York.