Mekas is regarded as one of the most important and influential experimental filmmakers of the 20th century. Born in Lithuania in 1922, he was resettled in the US after the Second World War, having endured periods in forced labour and displaced person camps. Entering New York, he rented a Bolex film camera, and immersed himself in the New York film scene.
Since the 1950s he has been one of the driving forces behind New York's avant-garde film culture, which he has promoted as a film maker, a critic, an organizer and an administrator. He is one of the founders of the Anthology Film Archives, one of the world?s largest and most important repositories of avant-garde film, and a founder of the Film Makers Co-Op and Film Culture Magazine. During the late 1950?s early 60?s he had a regular film review column in Village Voice.
His solo show at the Mead will feature his epic film diary, "As I was travelling along, briefly I caught glimpses of beauty." This four-and-half hour long film took a decade to complete, and is randomly edited from films made since he first got married in 1970. Documenting his life with his family and friends over a period of 30 years, it is an intensely intimate and moving film celebrating the precious things in his life.
Despite the autobiographical and personal nature of his work, Mekas was also an important chronicler of the New York art world in the 60s and 70s. His films contain invaluable documentation of this period?s avant-garde, featuring figures such as Andy Warhol, Jackie Kennedy, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Allen Ginsberg, Lou Reed, and The Velvet Underground. Many of these films will receive a rare screening during the exhibition. Jonas Mekas has exhibited extensively throughout the world, including Jeu de Paume, Paris, Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo, Documenta 11, and the Venice Biennale 2005.