Jonas Mekas

Jonas Mekas was invited to the Neiman Center in 2009 to produce a serial portfolio of images excerpted from his film footage and diaristic work - Walden (Diaries, Notes, and Sketches), 1969 amongst others. The project resolved as a grouping of images, mostly shot in the 1970s in New York City. The portfolio's title, To New York With Love, is a loving tribute to the city - a gift of poetic reminiscent images. Select images in the portfolio show many scenes no longer to be found in this city's landscape. Notable images are teens playing in Central Park with a red blanket, hands grasping glasses of red wine caught in mid toast, rainy streets of Soho, and a bright explosive Christmas tree captured at Rockefeller Center among many others. The compositional layout of each print retains the true form of the film strip - with three frames of film running vertically showing a subtle change in the movements of the subjects in each frame. Some of the film strips illustrated incorporate a black and white pattern running vertically alongside sprocket holes. This is the audio recording of that documented moment and reminds the viewer of the loss of sound in this static image; a loss of temporal continuity. Stills in the portfolio, in another photographic project, have been exhibited in the artist's earlier solo exhibition, Jonas Mekas: The Beauty of Friends Being Together Quartet, at PS1, NYC, February 11 - April 23, 2007.

Jonas Mekas was born in 1922 in the farming village of Semeniškiai, Lithuania. He currently lives and works in New York City. In 1944, he and his brother Adolfas were taken by the Nazis to a forced labor camp in Elmshorn, Germany. After the War he studied philosophy at the University of Mainz. At the end of 1949 the UN Refugee Organization brought both brothers to New York City, where they settled down in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Two weeks after his arrival in New York, Jonas bought a Bolex camera and began to record brief moments of his life. He soon became deeply involved in the American Avant Garde film movement. Mekas is considered today "the godfather of American avant-garde cinema." He founded the Anthology Film Archives, on the Lower East Side, NYC, in 1969 with Jerome Hill, Adams Sitney, Peter Kubelka and Stan Brakhage. The Archive, in its original conception, was a showcase for the Essential Cinema Repertory collection. The creation of this collection was an ambitious attempt to define the art of cinema by means of a selection of films which would screen continuously to encourage the study of the medium's masterworks as works of art rather than disposable entertainment. It is the first film museum exclusively devoted to the film as an art. Mekas is also a highly acclaimed Lithuanian language poet. He has a long exhibition history, the most recent notable solo exhibition - a survey of his work in its entirety - was presented at the Serpentine Gallery, London, from December 5 2011- January 27, 2012. For more biographical and exhibition information on Jonas Mekas: