Jonas Mekas

Jonas Mekas, born 1922, is a Lithuanian-born American filmmaker, writer, and curator known as the “godfather of American avant-garde cinema”. In 1944, Mekas left Lithuania because of war. En route, he and his brother were imprisoned in a labor camp in Germany. After the war, he studied philosophy at the University of Mainz and at the end of 1949, he emigrated with his brother to the U.S. where he discovered avant-garde film and began to shoot his first experimental films. Jonas Mekas is the founder of the Anthology Film Archives in 1964 in New York, which remains the world’s most important repository of avant-garde films. Mekas’ work has been presented at venues such as the 51st Venice Biennale, Documenta 11, Berlinale, Serpentine Gallery, the State Hermitage Museum, the Pompidou and the PS1 Contemporary Art Center. In 2007, he opened the Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Center in Vilnius, Lithuania. His latest publications were I had nowhere to go, available in German as Ich hatte keinen Ort translated by Heike Geißler (2017) and the Scrapbook of the Sixties (2016), both with Spector Books.