Jonas Mekas - Lithuanian Artist that Worked with John Lennon

Most of the artists in the world wish that they would work with Andy Warhol, Yoko Ono, John Lennon and Salvador Dalí. These names changed the history of modern art. All of them were geniuses, who lived in their own world. One Lithuanian had a chance to collaborate with these artists and basically create avant-garde cinema. It’s the godfather of avant-garde, Jonas Mekas.

Young Days of Jonas Mekas

World known filmmaker Jonas Mekas began his journey in Eastern Europe. To be exact, in Semeniškės, Biržai. But when he was 22, he left the country because Lithuania was occupied by Nazi Germany and he was part of an organisation against communism and nazism. After the war he studied philosophy in Mainz university from 1946 to 1948. In 1949, he emigrated to Brooklyn, where he bought his first camera and started filming short films about other Lithuanians living in the USA. Mekas organised a Film Study group where he first showed his avant garde films. In 1954, he founded a magazine ”Film Culture“ and in 1958, he established a new segment in a New York’s newspaper called “Movie Journal“. Jonas organized various avant-garde film festivals and in the 60s he was very involved in film criticism. As we can see, he was quite active in his youth before working with the biggest artists.

Jonas Mekas Impact on Art

Jonas Mekas, who has worked with the biggest celebrities in the world, like Andy Warhol, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Salvador Dali, Jurgis Mačiūnas, etc., was included in the list of the 80 most famous American artists of the 20th century. He earned high awards for his films at international festivals. Besides, he is admired and respected by New York and world artists, museum curators, and critics. Contemporary art and cinema are influenced not only by his own works but also by the New American Cinema and Anthology Film Archives that he founded. The most important thing is that he always introduced himself as a Lithuanian artist, although he spent most of his life living in the USA and Germany. Lithuanians can be proud that there is a world-renowned artist that promotes Lithuania’s name.

So, as we can see, Jonas Mekas made a huge impact on the history of art as well as on the world of avant garde. He worked with other great artists, held a lot of festivals and participated in other projects. He was recognized by critics and promoted Lithuania at the same time.

Sources – https://mekas.lt/lt/jonas-mekas/