September 1 2014

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Endless Summer With The Kennedys


“I first met Jackie Onassis and her children in 1970, when Peter Beard, who was tutoring Caroline and John Jr. in art and photography, asked me to give them some lessons in filming,” legendary lensman Jonas Mekas tells “Our friendship grew and expanded so much that at one point I was asked to make the Kennedy family movie.”

Mekas went about diligently documenting his summer days with the Kennedy and Radziwill families at Andy Warhol’s Montauk house. “I was always carrying my 16mm Bolex camera, and since I always filmed, nobody minded my filming. They didn’t take me too seriously,” Mekas says. The resulting movie, This Side of Paradise: Fragments From an Unfinished Biography, was eventually dropped, but nonetheless, Mekas completed it on his own in 1999. For the first time ever, photo prints from Mekas’ film will be on display in New York at Agnès B.’s Howard Street store starting tomorrow.

Mekas’ intentions for exhibiting his intimate moments with Caroline Kennedy at the beach or having cocktails with Andy Warhol are simple. “I hope you’ll get a glimpse of the happiness of those summers in Montauk from these very casual images made without any plan or intention,” he says. “None other than just having a good time.”

This Side of Paradise: Fragments From an Unfinished Biography opens September 24 and runs through October 30 at Agnès B., 50 Howard St., NYC.

Photos: Jonas Mekas; Boris Lehman (Mekas)

Dept. of Culture