Press Release

The Avant-Garde: From Futurism To Fluxus

The Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Center (JMVAC) in Vilnius, Lithuania proudly announces its premier exhibition, The Avant-Garde: From Futurism to Fluxus, which opens to the public on November 4, 2007 and runs through February 3, 2008.  The exhibition highlights the history of the avant-garde through its most focal figures and a multitude of mediums including film, film stills, installation, Fluxus art and documents, sculpture, video, and poetry, which cooperatively stimulated new ways of thinking about art, culture, and society.  The exhibition furthermore commemorates a homecoming for two of the country’s most prolific artists: pioneering avant-garde filmmaker Jonas Mekas and George Maciunas, the impresario and “Chairman” of the international Fluxus art movement of the 1960’s.

Kazys Binkis, the futurist poet and writer whose literary production and education awakened Lithuania to avant-garde philosophy and aesthetics, is acclaimed with an honorary place in the program.  His books, poems, and manuscripts demonstrate a tribute to this enigmatic figure and his contribution to the progression of Lithuanian art and culture.

Jonas Mekas “The Godfather of American Avant-Garde Cinema” continues groundbreaking performance through installations in which the still and moving image merge in a spectacular multimedia presentation.  Recently on view at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, his Collection of 40 Short Films is shown on monitors and wall projections in cooperation with 40 film stills, which were extracted from this riveting series of documentation.  Appearances by well-known personalities Mekas has encountered throughout existence include John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Salvador Dali, George Maciunas, Richard Serra, Nam June Paik, Andy Warhol, and Allen Ginsberg.  Also featured will be Zefiro Torna: Scenes From the Life of George Maciunas (1992), Mekas’ cinematic homage to his longtime friend and collaborator.  Complementing the film are 40 film stills that Mekas especially crafted for the exhibition.

Essential works have been selected from the Center’s recently acquired Fluxus collectionMaciunas’ readymade sign No Smoking (1963/1973), his collaborative work with George Brecht realized through Iced Dice (1964), and Yoko Ono’s Do It Yourself (1966) demonstrate the movement’s witty nature and facility to construct art from everyday objects and actions.  80 Wooster Street documents reveal Maciunas’ vision to convert the industrial buildings of New York’s downtown SoHo neighborhood into the legendary Fluxhouse Artist Cooperatives, which earned him the title of “Father of SoHo.” Also on view will be Nam June Paik’s conceptual video installation Real Plant/Live Plant (1978) and video sculpture TV Rodin (1975)Larry Miller’s Some Fluxus (1991) showcases vital performances of the collective and incorporates segments from Maciunas’ final interview in which Maciunas explains his lifelong fascination with charts, systemization, and humor.  Shigeko Kubota’s Fluxus SoHo Tour (1994) casts an intimate portrait of Maciunas as he and Fluxus members travel the streets of SoHo speaking in their native languages.  Lars Movin’s The Misfits: 30 Years of Fluxus (1993) projects a video portrait of the international Fluxus movement.  Maciunas’ comprehensive production Fluxfilm Anthology (1962-70) encapsulates the group’s humorous spirit.

Jonas Mekas specifically curates a roster comprised of films by fundamental visionaries of modern art that reflect aesthetics and beliefs associated with the avant-garde.  Embraced are Luis Buñuel’s revolutionary surrealist film Un Chien Andalou (1929) written in collaboration with Salvador Dalí, Marcel Duchamp’s characteristically Dada film Anemic Cinema (1926), Hans Richter’s Dada masterpiece Rhythmus 21 (1921), Fernand Léger’s pioneering cinematic testament Ballet Mécanique (1924), and Peter Kubelka’s experimental, abstract film Arnulf Rainer (1960).

This landmark exhibition culminates in the historic, forthcoming moment when Lithuania assumes the esteemed position of European Capital of Culture in 2009. A vibrant period in Lithuania has now emerged already attested through international recognition as one of the world’s major enthusiasts of arts and culture.

The exhibition will be accompanied with a full-page color catalogue.

 

For further information please contact:

Mr. Arturas Zuokas – Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Center (JMVAC)
Address – Gyneju g. 14, Vilnius, Lithuania 09601

T +370.5.211.2377  |  F +370.211.2502
www.mekas.lt
EMAIL info@mekas.lt

Mr. Harry Stendhal –  Curator

Mari Dumett – Co-curator Fluxus Documents
EMAIL gallery@mayastendhalgallery.com

T +1.212.366.1549  |  F +1.212.347.287.67775

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