Maya Stendhal Gallery is delighted to announce Jonas Mekas: New Work, which will be on view from November 13, 2008 through February 21, 2009. The exhibition will present the world premiere of Jonas Mekas’ latest 4-monitor video installation entitled Lithuania and the Collapse of the USSR (2008). Also on view for the first time will be new works from the artist’s dynamic collection of 40 film stills series.
Forces of time, memory, change, and human will collide in Mekas’ compelling work Lithuania and the Collapse of the USSR (2008). The work’s title refers to the historical time when the world watched as Mekas’ home country of Lithuania fought for independence from the stronghold of Soviet rule. Comprised of 4 parts with a total running time of 4 hours and 46 minutes, it will be presented in a 4-monitor video installation format offering a chronological overview of Lithuania’s birth as an independent nation. With a video camera, Mekas recorded newscasts that played daily in 1991 on his television set at home. Footage includes reports of the Soviet Union’s use of “aggressive actions” that called for Lithuanian back down, freedom demonstrations, interviews and statements made by top politicians, journalists, and analysts that include Lithuanian President Vytautas Landsbergis, Deputy Prime Minister Kazimiera Prunskiene, Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Russian President Boris Yeltsin, United States President George H.W. Bush among others, as well as moving portraits of the Lithuanian people who were directly affected by the conflict. Mekas’ account, reported by news outlets in the United States, also reveals the shaping and shifting of political, economic, and social relations between the Eastern Europe and the West at the time.
“The video is made up of footage that I took with my Sony from the television newscasts during the collapse of the USSR, with the home noises in the background. It’s a capsule of record of what happened and how it happened during that crucial period as recorded by the television newscasters. It can be viewed as a classic Greek drama in which the destinies of nations are changed drastically by the unbending, bordering on irrational will of one single man (Vytautas Landsbergis), one small nation determined to regain its freedom, backed by its fight against the Might & Power, against the Impossible.” Jonas Mekas
The 1960s witnessed the breakdown of art’s time worn paradigms as artists exchanged ideas through activities that permeated medium specific boundaries, the white box galleries and museums, and hierarchies that delineated high and low. Mekas, a programmer, archivist, fundraiser, theoretician, and all around proselytizer for the moving image, encapsulated this revolutionary spirit in his films from the era, which include portraits of Fluxus and its founder George Maciunas along with members Nam June Paik, Yoko Ono, Shigeko Kubota, and Jackson Mac Low. The currents felt during this decade resonate in Collection of 40 Film Stills from Zefiro Torna or Scenes of the Life of George Maciunas (2007), which chronicles the life of Fluxus impresario George Maciunas and his friends. Similarly, Collection of 40 Film Stills: Velvet Underground (2008) draws from the only recorded footage of the Velvet Underground’s first public appearance at the Psychiatrists Convention from January 14, 1966. A psychedelic montage of music, color, and dance, this group includes appearances by 1960’s pop culture icons Lou Reed, Nico, Eddie Sedgwick, and Andy Warhol. Collection of 40 Film Stills from Birth of a Nation (2008) imparts a telling portrait of the enigmatic characters and diverse impulses comprising the underground film community. Included are images of Stan Brakhage, Peter Kubelka, Harry Smith, Shirley Clark, Peter Bogdanovich, Ken Jacobs, Jack Smith, Kenneth Anger, and others.
“There are no rules written on the sky…I can show my films on the screen, I can cut them into pieces and show them as objects or multi-media installations.”
Two new works also on view illustrate Mekas’ unique sensibility to the beauty, poeticism, and meaning of his subject matter, whether he is observing epic events and pop culture icons, or life’s everyday occurrences. Collection of 40 Film Stills from Mozart & Wein (2008) gives a riveting account of Elvis Presley’s last concert in New York on June 9, 1972. A tableaux of flickering lights, movement, and mesmeric color, images portray a white jumpsuit clad Elvis at the peak of his now legendary performance. Whether addressing film, art, or life, the manifesto has always been a crucial aspect of Mekas’ practice. Collection of 40 Film Stills: Summer Haiku: A Manifesto (2008) began as a project for Serpentine Gallery’s Manifesto Marathon 2008, a futurological congress in which leading artists, architects, writers, philosophers, politicians presented manifestos for the 21st century. For his presentation, Mekas unveiled images captured from his vast archival footage, which convey his philosophical views on nature, illuminating nature’s beauty and fragility.
The hallmark feature of Mekas’ captivating film still collections underscore his ability to transcend mediums, and at the same time, illustrate his willingness to reevaluate past methods to test the boundaries of artistic practice. They compliment the ephemeral nature of his films, bringing subjects and events to a stand still and memorializing them forever. This dissection of the medium is truly avant-garde – it refuses to obey the conventions of the medium and reveals and examines the very nature of the medium itself.
All Collections of 40 Film Stills are produced in edition of 3 with 1 artist proof, and printed in cibachrome measuring 20” x 16” (50.8 × 40.64) each. The film stills are signed individually in verso by Jonas Mekas, and a certificate of authenticity also signed by the artist and Maya Stendhal Gallery accompanies each collection.
The exhibition at Maya Stendhal Gallery coincides with a major career retrospective on Jonas Mekas, which will be held at Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany from November 8, 2008 to March 1, 2009. Through personal archives in the form of documents, photographs, catalogues, texts, and film posters, the presentation will survey important periods of the artist’s life and career including New American Cinema, Film-maker’s Cinematheque, Film Culture, and Anthology Film Archives. Also on view will be Mekas’ classic films in combination with his most recent work, notably 365 Project and Collection of 40 Film Stills: Summer Haiku: A Manifesto.
Jonas Mekas will have a second major exhibition at Serpentine Gallery, London in 2010.
Maya Stendhal Gallery New York
545 West 20th Street
SELECTED SOLO AND GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2008: “Manifesto Marathon 2008,” Serpentine Gallery, London, England.
2008: “28th Biennial of Sao Paulo,” The Foundation of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
2008: “Whatever Happened to Sex in Scandinavia?,” Office for Contemporary Art Norway, Oslo, Norway.
2008: “That Was Then…This Is Now,” P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, New York.
2008: Reykjavik Arts Festival, Reykjavik, Iceland.
2008: “From Fluxus to Media Art,” Maya Stendhal Gallery, New York
2007: “From Futurism to Fluxus,” The Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Center, Vilnius, Lithuania.
2007: “Universal Language & The Avant-Garde,” Maya Stendhal Gallery, New York
2007: “Jonas Mekas: The Beauty of Friends Being Together Quartet”, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, New York.
2007: www.jonasmekas.com, Solo Exhibition, Maya Stendhal Gallery, November to February
2006: “Jonas Mekas: Solo Exhibition”, Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Center, UK.
2006: “Jonas Mekas: Solo Exhibition, Sketch Gallery, London.
2006: “He Stands in the Desert Counting the Seconds of His Life”, Tamayo Contemporary Art Museum, Mexico City.
2006: “Jonas Mekas, Film Screenings”, Hirshhorn Museum, Washington DC.
2006: “Jonas Mekas: Solo Exhibition”. Baltic Art Center, Visby.
2006: “The Expanded Eye”, Kunsthaus Zurich.
2006: “Onestar Stop”, Galerie Erna Hòcy, Brussels.
2005: “Jonas Mekas- Celebration of the Small and the Personal in the Time of Bigness, La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, 51st International Exhibition.
2005: “Balance and Power- Performance and Surveillance in Video Art”. Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, IL.
2005: “Thank You for the Music”, Spruth Magers Projeckte, Munich.
2005: “Jonas Mekas”, Contemporary Art Center Vilnius (CAC).
2005: “Repetitions”, Maya Stendhal Gallery, New York, Group Show;
2005: “Fragments of Paradise”, Solo Exhibition, Maya Stendhal Gallery
2003: “Moderna Museet”, Baltic Art Center, Visby.
2003: “Fables de L’Identitò”, Centre National de la Photographie, Paris.
2003: “Jonas Mekas: Frozen Films Frames”, Maison Europòene de la Photographie,Paris.
2003: “Frozen Film Frames”, Sideshow Gallery, Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
2003: “Dedication to Fernand Leger”, Museum of Contemporary Art, Vilinius.
2003: La Biennale di Venezia. Installation at the Utopia Station Pavillion
2003: “Jonas Mekas: A Camera for Jonas”. “To Petrarca Who Walked Over the Hills of Provence” and a 24 hour video installation, “Dedication to Ferdinand Leger”. Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.
2002: Documenta 11, Kassel.
2002: Maison Europòenne de la Photographie, Paris.
2000: “Laboratorium”, Antwerpen Open, Antwerp.
2000: “Voilá- Le Monde dans la Tête”, Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Films and Installations.
1998: Gandy Gallery, Prague.1999: Susan Inglett Gallery, New York.1999: Pupelis Gallery, Obeliai.
1998: “Le Printemps de Cahors”, Musee de Cahors Henri- Martin, Cahors.
1997: Museum of Contemporary Art, Vilnius.
1997: Madrid Art Fair.
1997: Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo
1996: Still Gallery, Edinburgh.1996: Laurence-Miller, New York.
1992: Galerie du Jour Agnes B., Paris.
1992: Galerie National du Jeu de Paume, Paris.
Guns of the Trees (1962), 75 minutes.
Film Magazine of the Arts (Summer, 1963), 20 minutes.
The Brig (1964), 68 minutes.
Award Presentation to Andy Warhol (1964), 12 minutes.
Report from Millbrook (1965/1966), 12 minutes
Walden (Diaries, Notes, and Sketches), (filmed 1964-68, edited 1968-69), 3 hours.
Hare Krishna (1966), 4 minutes.
Notes on the Circus (1966), 12 minutes.
Cassis (1966), 4.5 minutes.
The Italian Notebook (1967), 15 minutes. (Taken out of circulation)
Time and Fortune Vietnam Newsreel (1968), 4 minutes.
Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania (1971-72), 82 minutes.
Lost, Lost, Lost (1976), 2 hours, 58 minutes.
In Between: 1964-8 (1978), 52 minutes.
Notes for Jerome (1978), 48 minutes.
Paradise Not Yet Lost (aka Oona’s Third Year) (1979), 96.5 minutes.
Street Songs (1966/1983), 10.5 minutes.
Cup/Saucer/Two Dancers/Radio (1965/1983), 23 minutes.
Erik Hawkins: Excerpts from “Here and Now with Watchers”/ Lucia Dlugoszewski
Performs (1983), 6 minutes.
Dlugoszewski Performs (1983), 6 minutes.
He Stands in a Desert Counting the Seconds of His Life (1969/1985), 2.5 hours.
Scenes from the Life of Andy Warhol (1990), 35 minutes.
Mob of Angels/The Baptism (1991), 60 minutes. Video.
Dr. Carl G. Jung or Lapis Philosophorum (1991), 29 minutes.
Quartet Number One (1991), 8 minutes.
Mob of Angels at St. Ann (1992), 60 minutes. Video.
Zefiro Torna or Scenes from the Life of George Maciunas (1992), 34 minutes.
The Education of Sebastian or Egypt Regained (1992), 6 hours. Video.
Imperfect 3-Image Films (1995), 6 minutes.
On My Way to Fujiyama (1995), 25 minutes.
Happy Birthday to John (1996), 24 minutes.
Memories of Frankenstein (1996), 95 minutes.
Birth of a Nation (1997), 85 minutes.
Scenes from Allen’s Last Three Days on Earth as a Spirit (April 1997), 67 minutes. Video.
Letter from Nowhere-Laiskas is Niekur N.1 (1997), 75 minutes. Video. In Lithuanian.
Song of Avignon (1998), 5 minutes.
Laboratorium (1999), 63 minutes. Video.
This Side of Paradise (1999) 35 minutes, 16 mm.
A Few Notes on Andy’s Factory (1999), 59 minutes. Video.
Notes on Film-Maker’s Cooperative (1999), 40 minutes. Video.
Autobiography of a Man Who Carried his Memory in his Eyes (2000), 53 minutes. Video.
Song of Avignon (2000), 8 minutes.
Mysteries (1966-2000), 34 minutes.
Remedy for Melancholy (2000), 20 minutes. Video.
As I was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty (2000), 4 hours 48 minutes. 16mm.
Ein Maerchen (2001), 6 minutes. Video.
Williamsburg, Brooklyn (1950-2003), 15 minutes.
Mozart & Wien and Elvis (2000), 3 minutes.
Travel Songs (1967-1981), 28 minutes.
The Song of Assisi (1967), 2 minutes
The Song of Avila (1967), 4 minutes
The Song of Moscow (1970), 3 minutes
The Song of Stockholm (1980), 4 minutes
The Song of Italy (1967), 15 minutes
Dedication to Leger (2003), 24 hours, video installation.
Notes on Utopia (2003), 59 minutes.
Letters from Greenpoint (2004), 80 minutes. Video.
365 Day Project (2007), 30 hours.
Notes on American Film Director: Martin Scorsese (2007), 80 minutes.
Lithuania and the Collapse of USSR (2008), 4 hours 50 minutes.
Has received grants and awards from the Albright-Knox Gallery, the Long Wharf Theater
Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, Rockefeller Foundation, and National
Endowment for the Arts.
Member of American Center of P.E.N.
Golden Medal, Philadelphia College of Art, “For the devotion, passion and selfless dedication to the rediscovery of the newest art.” 1966.
Guggenheim Fellowship, 1977.
Creative Arts Award, Brandeis University, 1989.
Mel Novikoff Award, San Francisco Film Festival, 1992.
Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Ministry of Culture, France, 1992, 2000.
Lithuanian National Award, 1995.
Doctor of Fine Arts, Honoris Causa, Kansas City Art Institute, 1996.
Pier Paolo Pasolini Award, Paris, 1997.
International Documentary Film Association Award, Los Angeles, 1997.
Governors Award, Skohegan School of Painting and Sculpture, 1997.
Artium Doctors Honoris Causa, Universitatis Vytauti Magni, Lithuania, 1997.
2006 Selection of the Library Congress National Film Registry for “Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania.”
Los Angeles Film Critics Association, 2006.
Directors Guild of America, 2006.
Austrian Decoration of Honour for Science and Art, 2008.
Baltic Cultural Achievement Award, 2008.
PUBLICATIONS BY JONAS MEKAS
Knyga Apie Karalius ir Zmons. Prose, In Lithuanian, Tubingen, 1947.
Semeniskiu Idiles. Poetry, in Lithuanian, Zvilgsniai, Kassel, 1948. Japanese edition. Tokyo, 1996; enlarged Lithuanian edition, Vilnius, Baltos Lankos 1997.
Geliu Kalbejimas. Poetry, in Lithuanian, Chicago, 1961.
Pavieniai Zodziai. Poetry, in Lithuanian, Chicago, 1967; Japanese edition, Tokyo, 1996.
Poezija. Poetry, in Lithuanian, Vilnius, Vaga, 1971.
Reminiscensijos. Poetry, in Lithuanian, New York, Fluxus, 1972.
Movie Journal, Macmillan, 1972: Japanese edition, 1975. Spanish edition, 1976; French edition, 1992.
Dienorasciai. Poetry, in Lithuanian, New York, Zvilgsniai, 1985.
Three Friends: John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and George Maciunas. Japanese edition, Tokyo, 1990; Lithuanian edition, Vilnius, 1998; French edition, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 2002.
I Had Nowhere to Go: Diaries, 1944-1954. Black Thistle Press, New York, 1991.
There is No Ithaca. English edition, trnsl. Vyt Bakaitis, of Semeniskiu Idiles and Reminiscensijos, Black Thistle Press, New York, 1996.
Letters from Nowhere. In Lithuanian, Vilnius, 1997.
Dienu Rastai. Poetry, in Lithuanian, Vilnius, 1998.
Zefiro Torna or Scenes From the Life of George Maciunas. Diaries, Arthouse, New York, 1998.
Zmogus Be Vietos. Lithuanian edition of I Had Nowhere to Go. Baltos Lankos, 2000.
Just Like A Shadow. Text by Jerome Sans. Frozen film frames by Jonas Mekas. Steidl, Göttingen, 2000. In English.
Declarations de Paris. Editions Paris Experimental, 2001. In French and English.
Poezija, Lietuvos Rasytoju Sajungos Leidykla. Poetry, in Lithuanian, Vilnius, 2002.
As I Was Moving Ahead…Editions Kinoshita, Tokyo. In Japanese. Text and narration from the film.
Fluxus Friends. In French. Centre Georges Pompidou, 2002.
Artist Book. Musee d’Art Moderne de Villa de Paris, 2002.
Daybooks. Poetry. Translated by Vyt Bakaitis from Lithuania. Portable Press, Brooklyn, 2003.
Lettres de Nulle Part. In French. Paris Experimental, 2003.
Anecdotes. In French. SCALI, 2007.
Articles on cinema in Film Culture, Sight & Sound, Bianco e Nero, The New York Times,
Cahiers du Cinema, Isskustvo Kino, etc.
PUBLICATIONS ABOUT JONAS MEKAS
Books and Catalogs:
Alberto Arbasino, “Entre el “underground” y el “off-off.” Editorial Anagrama, Barcelona, 1970.
Judy Briggs, Jonas Mekas. Films in the Cities, St. Paul, 1980.
Jonas Mekas. Exposition Catalog. Tokyo, 1983.
David James, To Free the Cinema: Jonas Mekas and the New York Underground, Princeton University Press, 1992.
Jonas Mekas. Catalog. Galerie Nationale Jeu de Paume, Paris, Paris, 1992.
Jonas Mekas. Catalog and Texts. Galerie du Jour, Paris, 1996.
Jonas Mekas: Frozen Film Frames. Exhibition catalog. Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, 1996. Text in Japanese.
Pip Chodorov, Christina Lebrat, Le Livre de Walden. Editions Paris Experimental, Paris, 1997. In French.
Jonas Mekas: Frozen Film Frames. Images and texts. Photo-Planete, Tokyo, 1997. In Japanese.
Sustabdytos akimirkos. Exhibition catalog. Contemporary Art Museum, Vilnius, 1997.
Jonas Mekas: This Side of Paradise. Exhibition catalog and texts. Galerie du Jour, Paris, 1999.
Pip Chodorov, Patrice Rollet, Lost Lost Lost Book. Editions Paris Experimental, 2000. In French
EXTENED ESSAYS AND INTERVIEWS:
Alan Levy, “Voice of the Underground Cinema,” The New York Times Magazine, September 19, 1965.
Calvin Tomkins, “All Pockets Open,” New Yorker profile, January 6, 1973.
Scott MacDonald, “Interview With Jonas Mekas,” October N. 29, Summer 1984.
Jerome Sans, “An Interview with Jonas Mekas,” Just Like a Shadow, Steidl, 2000.