in other words

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#9 The Road Less Travelled with Joel Mesler


Guest Joel Mesler with host Charlotte Burns and our producer, Sandy Smallens. Photo credit: Harrison Epstein

Art Agency, Partners
#9 The Road Less Travelled with Joel Mesler

BY Charlotte Burns
executive editor of In Other Words

We’re introducing a new feature for the ninth episode of “In Other Words”,  a one-on-one interview with a person who has taken an unusual approach to making their way in the art world— someone who has taken the road less travelled.

Joining us this week, Joel Mesler tells us why he recently left Manhattan’s Lower East Side to open an art gallery in East Hampton, Rental Gallery. Joel, who is an artist as well as a dealer, talks to us about what it takes to survive in the industry.

“In Other Words” is a presentation of AAP and Sotheby’s, produced by

Click here for full transcript

Charlotte Burns: Hello and welcome to "In Other Words". I'm your host Charlotte Burns, senior editor at Art Agency, Partners. Usually on these podcasts, we pick a topic, and we have several guests who join us to discuss it. Every now and then, we’ll have a regular feature in which…


Joel Mesler

artist and dealer

Joel Mesler was born in Los Angeles in 1974. He graduated from Windward High School in 1992 and received a Masters of Fine Arts from San Francisco Art Institute in 1999. The following year, Mesler opened his first gallery, Dianne Pruess and Pruess Press in Chinatown, Los Angeles. In 2005, he closed Pruess and opened Rental Gallery.

The artist, now dealer, continued to paint throughout the early 2000s and had a solo exhibition at The Black Dragon Society of Painting titled “Survival Meets Ideal Hands” in 2006. In 2007, Mesler moved to New York City for a girl. He reopened Rental in Chinatown, New York shortly thereafter and was subsequently told by his peers to “put down the paint brushes” which he promptly did. 

In 2010, he closed Rental Gallery and opened Untitled on the Lower East Side of Manhattan with Carol Cohen. Five years later he closed Untitled and opened Feuer/Mesler. In 2017, Feuer/Mesler closed and Joel migrated to Sag Harbor, opening the third iteration of Rental in East Hampton, NY. 

Mesler picked up his paintbrushes again in 2015 and has since exhibited paintings in Montauk, Beverly Hills, Miami and Paris. Mesler does not currently have gallery representation. If there are any dealers interested in representing the artist, he is open to meetings and invitations for sushi.

Charlotte Burns

executive editor of In Other Words

Charlotte Burns is the editor of In Other Words, our weekly newsletters and podcasts. She was previously the US news and market editor for The Art Newspaper, as well as a regular correspondent for publications such as the Guardian and Monocle. Previously, she worked with the London dealer Anthony d’Offay on special projects. For several years, she was a consultant at the cultural communications agency, Bolton & Quinn. She also worked at Hauser & Wirth in London.

Burns received a Masters degree (with Merit) from the Courtauld Institute in Art and Cultural Politics in Germany, 1890-1945, as well as a first-class B.A. honors degree in English and History of Art from Birmingham University. She moved to New York in 2010.

The live record

Behind the Scenes: The road less travelled with Joel Mesler

5 Images


By Pablo Helguera

For Joel Mesler’s “True Confessions of a Justified Art Dealer” series in ARTnews:

“Part One: Safe and Warm in L.A.”  from December 2014

“Part Two: Forget It, Joel. It’s Chinatown.” from January 2015

“Part Three: Downhill All the Way” from February 2015

“Part Four: Up All Night in the Dream Factory” from March 2015

“Part Five: Goodbye to All That” from April 2015

“Part Six: The Metaphor Delivered” from June 2015

“Part Seven: Go East, No Longer Young Man” from January 2017

Where to look

Joel Mesler's Art

20 Images

Rental Gallery's opening show: "Oliver Twist, Chapter 2" (until 17 June)

11 Images