An Exhibition and Film Screenings Honor Filmmaker Jonas Mekas at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

An Exhibition and Film Screenings Honor Filmmaker Jonas Mekas at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

“Frozen Film Frames: Portraits of Filmmakers by Jonas Mekas” is on view from April 1 to June 7, 2015


EUGENE, Ore. -- (March 23, 2015) – Jonas Mekas, a legendary pioneer of American avant-garde film, will be honored with a gallery exhibition and film screenings at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon. On view from April 1 to June 7, 2015, “Frozen Film Frames: Portraits of Filmmakers by Jonas Mekas,” presented in collaboration with the Cinema Pacific Film Festival and co-curated by Richard Herskowitz and Deborah Colton, includes twenty-two of Mekas’s photographic portraits extracted from his classic films.


“Mekas is revered for his experimental diary films, his founding of the New York film institutions Filmmakers Cooperative and Anthology Film Archives, and his passionate promotion of avant-garde cinema in his “Village Voice” column,” says Herskowitz. 


The images in "Frozen Film Frames," provided courtesy of the artist and the Deborah Colton Gallery, are drawn from adjoining frames in Mekas's films, and reflect his characteristic single-frame filming style. Among the subjects are Robert Frank, Elia Kazan, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Andy Warhol, and Wim Wenders. Also on view is Jonas Mekas’s 1997 feature film, “Birth of a Nation,” which consists of 170 portraits, sketches, and glimpses of independent film makers and activists shot between 1955 and 1996. The exhibition is supported by a JSMA Academic Support Grant.


In addition to the exhibition, in April, Schnitzer Cinema dedicates two programs to Mekas.


On Wednesday, April 15 at 7 p.m., Colton and Herskowitz explore his diaries and film portraits including a conversation with Mekas via Skype. “Scenes from the Life of Andy Warhol” (1990, 36 min.) chronicles not only Warhol, but also the social and cultural excitement that swirled around him. The film includes footage from the first public performance of the Velvet Underground at Delmonico’s Hotel in 1966 and includes an array of luminaries from John Lennon to Edie Sedgwick. “Zefiro Torna or Scenes from the Life of George Maciunas” (1992, 35 min.) is a tribute from one Lithuanian expatriate to another. Comprised of diary footage, the film explores the life and work of Fluxus artist Maciunas from 1952 until his tragically early passing in 1978. It includes bits of Fluxus events and performances, and is a beautiful portrait of a lost friend and living spirit.


On Wednesday, April 29 at 7 p.m., guest speaker Scott MacDonald screens “Walden (Part One), as part of Cinema Pacific.  “Walden” was Mekas’s first diary film, and it was edited as a collection of images gathered between the years 1964 and 1969. Its original title was “Diaries, Notes, and Sketches.” The sketches refer to various films that, edited previously, were later included in “Walden: Report from Millbrook” (1965/1966), “Hare Krishna” (1966), “Notes on the Circus” (1966), and more. Scott MacDonald, the leading chronicler of avant-garde filmmakers, is the author of the five volumes of the “Critical Cinema” series (UC Press) and of several other books on avant-garde film. MacDonald will also speak the following day on “Avant-Gardens: Landscape in Experimental Film” at 3:30 p.m. in PLC 180.


The Schnitzer Cinema series is curated by Cinema Pacific director Richard Herskowitz and includes free popcorn and soda.


Mekas was born in 1922 in Semeniskiai, Lithuania. Among his many awards are a Guggenheim Fellowship (1966); Mel Novikoff Award at San Francisco Film Festival, (1992); Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from Ministry of Culture, France (1992 and 2000); and Special Tribute, New York Film Critics Circle Awards (1996). In 2013, Mekas participated in an extensive presentation of his works at the Serpentine Gallery, London, and the Centre Pompidou, Paris. The “frozen film frames” have been exhibited and acclaimed at the Venice Biennale, MOMA/PS1, the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, and the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, among other venues.


Deborah Colton Gallery first debuted the work of Mekas with “Film Framed,” a solo exhibition in Houston, Texas in 2005 and recently in an exhibition at Paris Photo Los Angeles in April 2013.


About the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

The University of Oregon's Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is a premier Pacific Northwest museum for exhibitions and collections of historic and contemporary art based in a major university setting. The mission of the museum is to enhance the University of Oregon’s academic mission and to further the appreciation and enjoyment of the visual arts for the general public.  The JSMA features significant collections galleries devoted to art from China, Japan, Korea, America and elsewhere as well as changing special exhibition galleries.  The JSMA is one of six museums in Oregon accredited by the American Association of Museums.


The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is located on the University of Oregon campus at 1430 Johnson Lane. Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays through Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens. Free admission is given to ages 18 and under, JSMA members, college students with ID, and University of Oregon faculty, staff and students. For information, contact the JSMA, 541-346-3027.


About Cinema Pacific

Cinema Pacific is an annual film festival based at the University of Oregon in Eugene that is devoted to discovering and fostering the creativity of international films and new media from Pacific-bordering countries, including the U.S. Through onsite and online presentations, the festival connects stimulating artists and ideas with a diverse public, furthering our understanding of world cultures and contemporary issues.


About the University of Oregon

The University of Oregon is among the 108 institutions chosen from 4,633 U.S. universities for top-tier designation of "Very High Research Activity" in the 2010 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The UO also is one of two Pacific Northwest members of the Association of American Universities.


Contact: Debbie Williamson Smith, 541-346-0942,


Links: Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art,

Cinema Pacific,