Award Presentation to Andy Warhol

Jonas Mekas

Staff Picks Award Presentation to Andy Warhol
Jonas Mekas

12 Minutes

December 1–31, 2023

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When Andy Warhol refused to appear in public to accept the 1964 Film Culture magazine’s annual Independent Film award, Jonas Mekas made a mock documentary of Warhol and a group of his superstars at the Factory.

“The Independent Film Award for 1964 is presented to Andy Warhol. We see Andy among his leading stars, Baby Jane Holzer, Gerry Malanga, Ivy Nicholsen, and we see the the editor of Film Culture, Jonas Mekas, presenting the award: a basket of fruit—mushrooms, carrots and apples, bananas—which then, they all eat with great pleasure.”—Jonas Mekas

“I can recall seeing only one Warhol film which was wholly pastoral and unneurotic in feeling, which contained or provoked none of these or other disturbing implications; and that turned out not to be a Warhol film at all, as I thought at the time, but a kind of homage, by Jonas Mekas, to Warhol - really a work of Mekas’ own sensibility though seemingly in the official Warhol style. When I saw Award Presentation I was hung for days on the kind of imagination revolutionary enough at once to conceive of a film as something so simple and to make that simplicity so pleasurable.”—James Stoller, Film Quarterly

Presented as the December 2023 edition of e-flux Film’s monthly series Staff Picks.

This edition of e-flux Staff Picks is co-presented by the Jonas Mekas Estate and Re:Voir.

For more information, contact program@e-flux.com.

Experimental Film, Pop Art, Publications, Awards
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Jonas Mekas (b. 1922, Semeniškiai, Lithuania) was a filmmaker, poet, teacher, and archivist. After escaping a Nazi labor camp in Germany with his brother Adolfas (1925–2011), Mekas attended the University of Mainz, where he studied philosophy. In 1949, the brothers were given status as United Nations refugees and were relocated to New York City, where before long Mekas would start making films, soon becoming a part of the film community and one of the major influences in a culture that he would dub New American Cinema. In 1954, together with his brother, Mekas started the landmark Film Culture magazine, and in 1958 began his legendary Movie Journal column in the Village Voice. In 1962 he founded the Film-Makers’ Cooperative, and in 1964, the Film-Makers’ Cinematheque, which eventually grew into Anthology Film Archives, a screening venue and one of the world’s largest and most important repositories of avant-garde cinema. Throughout his life, Mekas made over sixty films and film installations that have been shown in musuems and festivals worldwide, and he is largely credited for developing the diaristic forms of cinema. He is the author of more than twenty-five books of prose and poetry, which have been translated into over a dozen languages and are considered classic works of literature in his home country, Lithuania. On January 23, 2019, Mekas passed away at the age of 96 at his home in Brooklyn.


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