Camera Was Always Running | Jonas Mekas

2022fri18febAll Daysun05jun(All Day) Camera Was Always Running | Jonas Mekas


Jonas Mekas: The Camera Was Always Running explores the breadth and import of Mekas’s life art and legacy in the field of the moving image. Coinciding with the centennial of his birth the exhibition surveys Mekas’s 70-year career and includes 11 films presented in an immersive environment photography and previously unseen archival materials.
Forced to flee his native Lithuania during the final moments of World War II in 1944 Mekas was unable to return until 1971. After spending five years stateless and homeless in a Nazi work camp and then Displaced Persons camps throughout Germany Mekas (b. 1922 Semeniškiai Lithuania; d. 2019 Brooklyn New York) emigrated to New York City with his brother Adolfas in 1949. A penniless war-weary refugee he swiftly integrated into the city’s thriving counterculture nonetheless becoming a central organizer and later a prolific filmmaker within the avant-garde community. Like many emigrés in the aftermath of World War II—as for so many across the globe today—his art was profoundly marked by his refugee experience: the loss memory and longing for a home he permanently left behind in 1944. The relationship between exile and creativity is always at the heart of his work and is the exhibition’s central theme.
Over seven decades Mekas made 93 films and videos amassing footage that was both a record of his life and a resource for his art. He was the author founder and co-founder of numerous artist-run cooperatives distribution networks and writings on film: in 1954 he co-founded Film Culture the first journal of American film criticism; from 1958-71 he penned “Movie Journal” the first critical column on cinema in the Village Voice; in 1962 he co-founded The Film-makers’ Co-op among the earliest organizations to support experimental film production screening and distribution on a large scale; in 1969 he co-founded Anthology Film Archives which became—and remains—a focal point for New York’s experimental cinema scene; and finally between 1968 and 1971 the Film-makers’ Co-op presented the screening and conversation series Avant Garde Tuesdays at the Jewish Museum.

Jewish Museum

The Jewish Museum is an art museum committed to illuminating the complexity and vibrancy of Jewish culture for a global audience. Through distinctive exhibitions and programs that present the work of diverse artists and thinkers, we share ideas, provoke dialogue, and promote understanding. The Jewish Museum was the first institution of its kind in the United States and is one of the oldest Jewish museums in the world. The Museum maintains a unique collection of nearly 30,000 works of art, ceremonial objects, and media reflecting the global Jewish experience over more than 4,000 years. Located on New York City's Museum Mile, in the landmarked Warburg mansion, the Jewish Museum is a welcoming home to an ever-changing and dynamic range of opportunities for exploring multiple facets of the global Jewish experience.

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