He survived a Nazi work camp to shape the world of modern film

In October 1949, Jonas Mekas arrived in New York City broke and nearly broken.

The Lithuanian artist had survived a Nazi work camp and several years as a refugee, and was supposed to travel on to Chicago where a job in a bakery awaited. But the buzz of New York City energized him and so he stayed. Thus began a prolific career in which Mekas explored time and place.

This incessant exploration is at the core of the Jewish Museum’s newest exhibit “Jonas Mekas: The Camera Was Always Running.” It’s the first time an American museum has featured a survey of the filmmaker, poet and critic who helped shape the avant-garde in New York City and beyond.

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