Whether he’s stealing Anaïs Nin’s cookies, living alongside Janis Joplin and Patti Smith in the Chelsea Hotel, contemplating life and death with Allen Ginsberg or meeting Timothy Leary, Arthur Miller, Lenny Bruce and so many more, legendary artist Jonas Mekas has spent 94 years weaving himself inextricably into the very fabric of postwar culture. In A Dance with Fred Astaire, Mekas recalls his many chance encounters, intimate exchanges and lasting friendships with some of the most iconic and beloved artists of the last century with wry wit, lyricism, and frankness. Guided by Mekas’s distinctive prose and suffused with warmth, A Dance with Fred Astaire is rhapsodic, poetic and funny as all get out.
A Dance with Fred Astaire is an extraordinary collection of anecdotes and rare ephemera featuring a dizzying cast of cultural icons both underground and mainstream, both obscure and celebrated. Memories and diary entries, conversations and insights into his work sit alongside collages of beautifully reproduced postcards, newspaper cuttings, film negatives, lists, posters and photographs, envelopes and letters, book covers, telegrams, cartoons and doodles. Mekas has kept and archived the artifacts of his life as a cultural touchstone down to the minutiae, all of which is brought together here in the form of a unique and fascinating scrapbook of a life lived with the highest artistic commitment.
Filmmaker, writer, musician and artist of exile, Jonas Mekas (born in 1922 in Lithuania) currently lives and works in New York City. He survived a World War II labor camp and postwar displacement before immigrating to New York in 1949. Two months after his arrival in New York he borrowed money to buy his first Bolex camera and began to record brief moments of his life. He soon got deeply involved in the American Avant-Garde film movement. In 1954, together with his brother, he started Film Culture magazine, which soon became the most important film publication in the US. In 1958 he began his legendary Movie Journal column in the Village Voice. In 1962 he founded the Film-Makers’ Cooperative, and in 1964 the FilmMakers’ Cinematheque, which eventually grew into Anthology Film Archives. His works will inspire many artists and filmmakers, including Jim Jarmush, Martin Scorsese, and Douglas Gordon. Movies and archives of Jonas Mekas were the object of many exhibitions worldwide: Documenta 11, Venice Biennale 2005, MoMA PS1, New York; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Baltic Art Center, Visby; Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo; galerie du jour agnès b. Paris; Centre Pompidou, Paris…
87 Guernsey St, Brooklyn, NY 11222, USA
February 19, 2018 to March 19, 2018