Robert Henry Mizer was born in Hailey, Idaho on March 27, 1922 to Delia Mizer, a recently widowed mother. Five years later she would move, along with her two youngest sons, to a home in Los Angeles, where she took in boarders to support her family. The home at 1834 West 11th St. would become the centerpiece of the AMG compound—a small Hollywood-style studio that spanned four city lots. Here Mizer would build an internationally known photography business, producing images that focused on representations of American masculinity. In his fifty years as an artist, he photographed bodybuilders, US servicemen, male prostitutes (and their girlfriends), and his fair share of cultural figures, including Victor Mature, Alan Ladd, Susan Hayward, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Joe Dallesandro, and a vast array of other subjects which are only recently coming to light.
Mizer founded his pioneering Athletic Model Guild in 1945 and was active until his death in 1992. Along the way his ground-breaking art and practice influenced countless others from Andy Warhol, Jack Smith, David Hockney, Francis Bacon, Robert Mapplethorpe, Bruce Weber, et al on the one hand as well as the entire emerging gay independent publishing and adult film industry on the other.
The collection, which includes an estimated one million negatives and slides and six thousand films was rescued and is now being archived and restored by photographer-filmmaker Dennis Bell and a group of dedicated archivists and volunteers. The estate is currently represented by Exile gallery Berlin and Invisible Exports gallery NYC.
Bob began making films in 1954, which he advertised in his own publication (the highly influential “Physique Pictorial” series) and as the times changed, so did his product, which went from “one reel” super-8 black and white posing-strap movies to 16 and 35-mm films shown in theaters across the country, and finally to the VHS video format.
This pop-up exhibition realized in conjunction with Studio 1.1 and the Fringe! Film Festival, samples output from the mid-1970s to late 1980s.