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Slideshow

  • Artist and subject Jay Maisel leans against filing cabinets in his studio; objects like tools, gloves, and wires are mounted on the wall behind him.
PREVIOUSLY PLAYED

JAY MYSELF

MUST END THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 5

2:20 & 6:00 ONLY

DIRECTED BY STEPHEN WILKES

The Bank – a six-floor, 36,000 square foot, 100-year-old landmark building – sits on the corner of the Bowery and Spring Street, for decades draped in mystery, graffiti-covered, with boarded-up windows. Inside, renowned photographer/artist Jay Maisel inhabited a thriving artist paradise since 1966. A successful commercial photographer (covers for New York Magazine, Sports Illustrated swimsuit editions, and the iconic Miles Davis Kind of Blue album), he’s also a prolific art photographer and obsessive collector of extraordinary (and ordinary) objects that have inspired him. JAY MYSELF chronicles Maisel’s monumental move out of his 72-room home following its sale, the largest private real estate deal in NYC history. With humor and awe, Stephen Wilkes captures Maisel’s half-century of collecting – having had the room to save and exhibit every last thing he found beautiful, strange, or (potentially) useful.

Presented with support from the Helen Frankenthaler Endowed Fund for Films on Art and the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation Fund

USA    2018    79 MINS.    OSCILLOSCOPE LABORATORIES

Reviews

“An energetic documentary… Maisel becomes a hoarder, albeit a hoarder of genius… Maisel’s work...covers as much under the sun as a single photographer can capture in a lifetime… It’s a fun journey. Maisel’s eclectic subject matter... shows a bracing engagement with the real world.”
– Glenn Kenny, The New York Times

“Lovely. Wilkes views (Maisel) his old mentor with affection, but with a supreme awareness of what a crazy-charismatic crank he can be… a talky imperious fellow who suggests, in his sprightly 80s, a cross between Don Corleone and Gary Marshall.  JAY MYSELF is a portrait of the luminous artist Jay Maisel was in his heyday… (and) an eccentrically fantastic piece of real-estate porn. But it’s really about how Jay Maisel, through his camera lens, takes in the world: as a place where every building, every street, every person is endowed with nearly mystical beauty.”
– Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“[A] fascinating, improbable, only-in-a-bygone-New York story… (capturing) Maisel and his enormous, extraordinary home before it was gone… Transcend(s) the artist-documentary format and become(s), even more so, a reflection on a life fully and unusually lived that could only emerge between two people with a long, shared history.”
– David Alm, Forbes

“The building is a magnificent and often vexing repository... Maisel’s seemingly random and excessive collection of bric-a-brac is revealed as an integral part of his uncanny ability to perceive beauty in the mundane. One of the most esteemed, influential photographers of his generation. Maisel suggests a comical amalgamation of William Friedkin and Marlon Brando.”
– Derek Smith, SLANT