Jonas Mekas: Life Goes On… I Keep Singing

Jonas Mekas
November 9 – December 28, 2013

Deborah Colton Gallery is pleased to present selected works and video installations by Jonas Mekas in an exhibition entitled “LIFE GOES ON… I KEEP SINGING,” which includes still frame photographs from several bodies of works Mekas has created through his films. The exhibition opens November 9th and continues through December 28th, 2013. The Gallery will host an Artist Reception on Sunday, November 10th at 2:00 pm, which will include a Q+A with Jonas Mekas and Deborah M. Colton.

Jonas Mekas is the Founder of Anthology Films in New York, the Film maker, poet, writer, and artist. Jonas Mekas captured moments that we all cherish in art history, in American history, in life… from filmmakers, Salvador Dali, Kennedy’s, Warhol, Yoko Ono and John Lennon, Elvis Presley, the World Trade Center… to the more personal special moments of nature, his family, being human and celebrating life, cherishing each experience to the fullest.

In addition to the video created for this exhibition, FRAGMENTS OF PARADISE that is cohesive with the main gallery room exhibition, Deborah Colton Gallery will be featuring the video WTC HAIKUS. 2010. As Mekas describes this:

“‘Looking through my finished and unfinished films, I was surprised how many glimpses of the World Trade Center I caught during my life in SoHo. I had a feeling I was Hokusai glimpsing Mount Fuji. Only that it was the World Trade Center. The World Trade Center was an inseparable part of my and my family’s life during my SoHo period from 1975-1995. This installation is my love poem to it. My method in constructing this piece was simply to pull out images of the WTC from my original footage, while including some of the surrounding scenes. The result I felt came close, albeit indirectly, to what in poetry is known as the Haiku.”

Jonas Mekas was born in 1922 in Semeniskiai, Lithuania. In 1949 he emigrated to the U.S. together with his brother, settling in New York. He has been one of the leading figures of American avant-garde filmmaking playing various roles: in 1954 he founded Film Culture magazine; in 1958 began writing his “Movie Journal” column for the Village Voice; in 1962 co-founded the Film-Makers’ Cooperative (FMC) and in 1964 the Film-makers’ Cinematheque, which eventually grew into Anthology Film Archives. His own output varies from narrative films (Guns of the Frees, 1961) to documentaries (The Brig, 1963) and to “diaries” such as Walden (1969), Lost, Lost, Lost (1975) and As I was Moving Ahead, and Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty (2001). Known as an artist, filmmaker, art critic, curator and icon of contemporary American Culture, Mekas documented the era that promoted peace through his acclaimed independent film and still frame photography, which features Yoko and John in Happy Birthday to John and
Bed-In. His films have been screened extensively at festivals and museums around the world. In 2005 he represented Lithuania at the Venice Biennale, the exhibition was noted with Special Mention price for extraordinary presentation of contemporary classic art.

Through his accomplished career as a filmmaker, visual artist, writer and organizer, Jonas Mekas has received awards from New York State Council on the Arts, Rockefeller Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Golden Medal from Philadelphia College of Art, “For the devotion, passion and selfless dedication to the rediscovery of the newest art,” Guggenheim Fellowship in 1966, Creative Arts Award in 1977, Brandeis University in 1989; Mel Novikoff Award at San Francisco Film Festival, 1992; Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from Ministry of Culture, France in 1992 and 2000; Lithuanian National Award, 1995; Doctor of Fine Arts, Honoris Causa from Kansas City Art Institute in 1996; Special Tribute, New York Film Critics Circle Awards in 1996; Pier Paolo Pasolini Award, Paris in 1997; International Documentary Film Association Award, Los Angeles, 1997; Governors Award, Skohegan School of Painting and Sculpture, 1997; Artium Doctoris Honoris Causa, Universitatis Vytauti Magni, Lithuania in 1997.

In 2011 Jonas Mekas was honored at the Los Angeles Film Critics Association’s award ceremony for his significant contribution to American film culture and had a solo exhibition at Ludwig Museum in Cologne, Germany. Last December Mekas participated in an extensive presentation at Serpentine Gallery, London and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Most recently there opened an exhibitions of his works at the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia, at the Cinémathèque Royale and the Bozar Center for Fine Arts, both in Brussels, Belgium.

Jonas Mekas is a featured artist and special guest of the 2013 Houston Cinema Arts Festival, which will present his film Sleepless Night Stories as part of the festival’s “Cinema on the Verge” programming that highlights the most adventurous film and installation work by experimental media artists. Sleepless Night Stories debuted at the Berlin Film Festival in February 2011 and continues to enthrall audiences with Mekas’s recording the seemingly mundane happenings in his life.

Deborah Colton Gallery first debuted Jonas Mekas in Houston in the solo exhibition Film Framed at 2500 Summer Street in 2005. In 2007,Jonas Mekas was also included in the Group Exhibition at Deborah Colton Gallery, Chemical City. Since then Deborah Colton Gallery continues to represent Jonas Mekas, including a one-man solo exhibtion at Paris Photo Los Angeles in April of 2013, and through projects via the Gallery’s OUTPOST NYC DCG.

Deborah Colton Gallery is founded on being an innovative showcase for ongoing presentation and promotion of strong historical and visionary contemporary artists world-wide, whose diverse practices include painting, works on paper, sculpture, video, photography, performance, conceptual future media and public space installations. The Gallery aspires to provide a forum through connecting Texas, national and international artists to make positive change.