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.
Between 1950 and his death, the artist and impresario Jonas Mekas (1922–2019) made more than one hundred radically innovative, often diaristic films and video works. He also founded film festivals, cooperatives, archives, and magazines and wrote film criticism and poetry. Jonas Mekas: The Camera Was Always Running is the first major publication in English on this pivotal member of the New York avant-garde scene, presenting an extensively illustrated, in-depth exploration of his radical art and restless life.
Born in rural Lithuania, Mekas made his way to New York, where he became a central figure in the overlapping realms of experimental theater, music, poetry, performance, and film. This book brings his work alive on the page with sequences of stills from film and video, photographic series and installations, and archival documents. Leading scholars examine his work and influence, and a timeline expands our understanding of his life.