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Influences and interests


How to stay dynamic
Jonas Mekas Film-maker
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Somebody figured out at Anthology the other day, the average age of the people of my co-workers and friends at Anthology is, compared with, let's  say Cinémathèque Française or Cinémathèque Royal de Belgique where the average age is 50 or 55, at Anthology it is 30, 27, 25 or lower. So, they're all very young. Gregory, how old are you?

[Q] Nineteen.

You see, you see, that's my, no, no, I really, I... now we are talking my, about my American friends which has nothing to do what this thing is, so, I cannot stand, I'm bored with talk, okay. I am worried. I never go to the galley openings, to the museum openings. I get invitations and calls, you know, and don't go. When I make exceptions and break the rule like last weekend, I went to the opening, or the day before that, I went to, the last two months I went to about three or four openings and - Richard Serra - then I sit and then you go to eat; there is a dinner, you know, paid by the gallery. You're surrounded by these very art collectors and artists and art historians and specialists and they're 50, 60, 65, 70 years old or even when they are 40 or 35, they're already, they're very old and they're very heavy and I feel like, what, what am I doing here?

I mean, there is no energy, there is no life; it's only, I don't know what there is. So, I escape, the last, Richard Serra, I did not, I'll come to see the opening, but I'm not staying for the dinner, and I didn't stay. I cannot, it's... but at Anthology, I feel great! When 19 years old and 20, 25 people because there is energy, there is something, it's interesting, something, something is happening, something is in progress, something is moving ahead, and here's static, it's looking back, you know, here or there, it just costs a lot of money, we can sell, it's... it's... I cannot, that is not my life. Never was and never will be.

Jonas Mekas (1922-2019), Lithuanian-born poet, philosopher and film-maker, set up film collectives, the Anthology Film Archive, published filmzines and made hundreds of films, all contributing to his title as 'the godfather of American avant-garde cinema'. He emigrated to America after escaping from a forced labour camp in Germany in 1945.

Listeners: Amy Taubin

Amy Taubin is a contributing editor for "Film Comment" magazine and "Sight and Sound" magazine. Her book, "Taxi Driver", was published in 2000 in the British Film Institute's Film Classics series. Her chapter on "America: The Modern Era" is part of "The Critics Choice" published by Billboard Press, 2001, and her critical essays are included in many anthologies, mostly recently in "Frank Films: The Film and Video Work of Robert Frank" published by Scalo.

She wrote for "The Village Voice" weekly from 1987 into 2001 both as a film and a television critic. She also wrote a column for the "Village Voice" titled "Art and Industry" which covered American independent filmmaking. Her first weekly film criticism job was at the "SoHo Weekly News". Her writing has also appeared in "Art Forum", the "New York Times", the "New York Daily News", the "LA Weekly", "Millennium Film Journal", "US Harpers Bazaar" and many other magazines. She is a member of the National Society of Film Critics and the New York Film Critics Online.

She started her professional life as an actress, appearing most notably on Broadway in "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie", and in avant-garde films, among them Michael Snow's "Wavelength", Andy Warhol's "Couch", and Jonas Mekas' "Diaries, Notebooks and Sketches".

Her own avant-garde film, "In the Bag" (1981) is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art and the Friends of Young Cinema Archives in Berlin.

She was the video and film curator of "The Kitchen" from 1983-1987.

She has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from N.Y.U. in cinema studies. She teaches at the School of Visual Arts in both the undergraduate and the MFA graduate programs, and lectures frequently at museums, media centers, and academic institutions. In 2003, she received the School of Visual Arts' art historian teaching award.

Tags: Richatd Serra

Duration: 2 minutes, 51 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008