The Jewish Museum is hosting the first U.S. museum survey of the Lithuanian-born filmmaker, poet, critic, and institution-builder Jonas Mekas, who helped shape the avant-garde in New York City and beyond. Coinciding with what would be his 100th birthday, the exhibition includes 11 films, photography, and previously unseen archival materials that explore the breadth and import of Mekas’s life, art, and legacy in the field of the moving image. Mekas spent five years stateless and homeless in a Nazi work camp and then in Displaced Persons camps throughout Germany before emigrating to New York City with his brother Adolfas in 1949. He quickly became entrenched in the avant-garde community and his artwork reflected his refugee experience.
In conjunction with the exhibit, Film at Lincoln Center will screen a selection of Mekas’s most essential film and video works as well as some rarities, from his first feature-length film, Guns of the Trees (1962), to the reflective and deeply moving final features that concluded his career, from February 17 through 28.