Jonas Mekas Open Archives

A weekly glimpse into the personal archives of the late filmmaker and artist Jonas Mekas, who for over eight decades chronicled his life with typewriter and camera. Ranging from ephemera to video diaries, unseen letters to newly transferred reel-to-reel audio recordings, each week will focus on an item from the archives at its new home at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City.

Photo by Sally Dixon, May 1980.

Jonas’s commencement speech given to the 1998 class of the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers.

“North end of the house I grew up in. My little writing and reading table was right by the left window.”

At home, 1977. Photo by Robert Haller (1942-2021).

April calendar notes for Jonas’s “365 Day Project,” a yearlong work in which he presented each day a new video on his website.

Introduction for the catalogue of Jonas’ first exhibition, at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, 1983.

The announcement for Jonas’ first serious venture into film programming. At Cinema East, October 1953, shortly after he moved from Williamsburg to Orchard Street. The subsequent two programs included works by Kenneth Anger, Gregory Markopoulos and Maya Deren.

The opening lines of Jonas’ Lithuanian-language play “Pati pradžios pradžia” (“The Very Beginning of the Beginning”) along with Jonas’ handwritten translation. The complete translation will be published in 2022 on the occasion of Jonas’ centennial.

Jonas and his daughter, Oona, by the Central Park Reservoir, c. 1976. Photo by Hollis Melton.

A photograph of Jonas’ mother, Elžbieta, that was always on the wall beside his editing table.

The first edition of “Semeniškiū idilės” (“Idylls of Semeniškiai”) — Jonas’s first volume of poetry — published in Kassel, Germany, 1948. Cover illustration by Leonas Lėtas.

C. 1966. Photo by Jerome Hill.

Official stamps of the Republic of Sierra Leone, released January 30th, 2019, a week after Jonas’s passing.

Jonas preparing potato pancakes, following the recipe of his mother.

Fax letter, c. 1998

Photo by Adolfas Mekas, May 1960.

Notes on GOZO [Yoshimasu] – NHK PROJECT, c. 1995.

16mm still of Anthology Film Archives, 1970, at its first location on 425 Lafayette Street, with banner designed by Jerome Hill.

Untitled drawing on paper, c.1997