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The Media Arts of Jonas Mekas

Tuesday, December 5----The Maya Stendhal Gallery, one of New York's most adventurous gallery spaces, is currently presenting a collection of over 40 short works, created and curated by pioneering avant-garde filmmaker, artist, poet and archivist Jonas Mekas. Dubbed WWW.JONASMEKAS.COM---RECENT WORK, the program includes works shot on film, video and in new media platforms. The 84 year-old Mekas, one of the founders of the independent film movement, remains vitally prolific and engaged in the creativity of the new media arts.

After six decades of work, Mekas is a New York film institution, with an international following for his deeply personal films. With his unique diaristic approach, Mekas continues to captivate viewers while adopting new methods of technology, encouraging and contributing to the vitality of American Independent Cinema.

In addition to this elaborate cinematic installation, all 40 short films will be simultaneously released for download onto computers or multi-media devices (ipods, cell phones) at http://www.jonasmekas.com. Ever current, Mekas has proclaimed the internet and mobile technology "one of the most exciting venues for independently working film and video makers that has become available.”

A corresponding Web project of 365 short films will also be launched beginning January 1, 2007. Mekas will release the films, one for each day of the year, on his official website: http://www.jonasmekas.com. Inspired by a poet writing a poem each day of the year for his lover, he will create a similarly poetic statement through these deeply personal films, reflecting on his life and sentiments of both past and present. Working from his vast video archive of footage, these films aim to "celebrate the small forms of cinema, the lyrical form, the poem, the watercolor, etude, sketch, portrait, arabesque, and bagatelle, and little 8mm songs.”

The first collection of 40 short films, includes a psychedelic mix of portraits, happenings, performances, travel, filmmakers, cinema, and perhaps most notably, autobiographical themes. Many of these films consist of flashes of images of New York, Fluxus, Elvis Presley, Jackie Kennedy, Alan Ginsburg, as well as some of modern art’s most prestigious ground-breakers including Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, George Maciunas, Hans Richter, Hollis Frampton, Harry Smith, Robert Frank, Edie Sedgwick, Lou Reed, Robert Breer, Mary Menkin, Stan Brakhage John Lennon, Nam June Paik, Martin Scrosese, Nico, and many others.

Jonas Mekas has dedicated his life and work to establishing independent film as an art form. As a filmmaker, art critic, editor, teacher, distributor, and archivist, Mekas has contributed heavily to the creation of the postwar avant-garde film community, which he continues to expand today. Now through his web-based new media projects, he will further pursue his vision to “Free the Cinema” and create an equal place for the discourse of film among other modern mediums of fine art. Through embracing opportunities of new technology, Mekas is again blazing new trails by by which the work of experimental art filmmakers will be widely exposed to audiences across the world.

The exhibition of 40 short films at the Maya Stendhal Gallery, 545 West 20th St in New York, runs through February 10. For more information, log on to: http://www.mayastendhalgallery.com

Jonas Mekas’ web-based project of 365 short films will launch January 1, 2007 and run through December 31, 2007 on his official website: http://www.jonasmekas.com.


Sandy Mandelberger
Film New York Editor

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Mandelberger Sandy
(International Media Resources)

The Ultimate Guide to the New York Film, Video and New Media Scene.

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