The Metabolic Studio, Annenberg Foundation’s art activism and social design initiative, awarded its 2016 CHORA prize to poet, filmmaker and artist Jonas Mekas. Annenberg Foundation Vice President and Director Lauren Bon chose Mekas in recognition of his over fifty years of creative innovative work, detailed on the Metabolic Studio site:
Lithuanian-born Jonas Mekas has lived and worked in New York City since 1949, when the UN Refugee Organization secured transit for him and his brother Adolfas. Together with his brother, Jonas Mekas founded Film Culture magazine in 1954, which soon became the most influential film publication in the US. In 1958 he 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, one of the world’s largest and most important repositories of avant-garde cinema and a screening and events venue.
Jonas Mekas has written poetry and made films throughout his life. He has published more than twenty books of prose and poetry, which have been translated into over a dozen languages. His Lithuanian poetry is now part of Lithuanian classic literature and his films are held in the collections of museums around the world. He is largely credited for developing the diaristic forms of cinema, and in 2007, he completed a series of 365 short films released on the Internet — one film every day — and since then has continued to share new work online. Since 2000, Mekas has expanded his work into the area of film installations, exhibiting at the Serpentine Gallery, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; PS1, New York; Documenta, Kassel; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg; and the Venice Biennale.
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