Tuesday, February 23, 2016

"Scrapbook of the Sixties: Writings 1954 - 2010" by Jonas Mekas (Spector Books)

Spector Books ISBN: 9783959050333

"Scrapbook of the Sixties:  Writings 1954-2010" by Jonas Mekas (Spector Books)

The world is great when it is represented by Jonas Mekas.  For those who don't know or not in the know, Mekas is a filmmaker, film-supporter, film distributor, art lover, and the light of the Film Anthology in New York City.  On top of that, he was hired by Jackie Kennedy to tutor her two children in film aesthetics.   Mekas is also a great writer in defense of the art film, than say the narrative Hollywood film.  His writing throughout the years on filmmakers like Breakage, Anger, Conner, and of course Andy Warhol is priceless.   The beauty of reading "Scrapbook of the Sixties" is one gets a snapshot of that era, and all the issues that came up in the arts - especially the arts that were produced in lower Manhattan.

The odd thing, not everything in this book took place in the 60s.  Some of the pieces were written in the 90s, 00's as well as the 70s.  Yet, the root of the aesthetic does go back to the late 50s and of course, throughout the 1960s.  Here you get John & Yoko, Peter Kubelka, Warhol, Stan Brakage  - but it also goes beyond the cinematic arts - there are also various insights into the world of theater - specifically The Living Theater.  Reading Mekas, he now reminds me of Boris Vian's various reviews and commentary on Jazz.  Both artists share a total passion for an art form and a social movement.    

I also have to say, that this book is a delight to hold.  It's beautifully designed with wonderful paper.  The texture is incredible.  So are the words and their thoughts.

- Tosh Berman

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