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Marie Menken

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Marie Menken with her 16mm Bolex

Marie Menkevicius (25 May 1909 in New York City, New York - 29 December 1970) was an American experimental filmmaker and socialite.

Early Life

The daughter of Catholic-Lithuanian immigrants, she grew up in Brooklyn.

Mr. & Mrs. Menkevicius
Marie and Adele Menken

Personal Life

In 1931 she met and married Willard Maas, a professor of literature at Wagner College in Staten Island. It was a rocky and unstable marriage.

Willard Maas, a verbally abusive husband who was jealous of Marie's popularity and acceptance as an artist, as his own was in decline, will forever be remembered for his off-screen appearance in Warhol's Blow Job (1964) as the catcher (fellator), rather than the pitcher, during the performance of the act.

The strongest bond that held Maas and Menken together (besides their friends in common) was their "wild parties," and "wild fights," fortified by the consumption of drugs washed down by distilled spirits.

Filmography and Professional Career

Friend Edward Albee based the characters of Martha and George and their relationship on Menken and Maas in his play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1962).

Menken appeared in the Andy Warhol film Chelsea Girls.

She was the basis of the 2006 documentary Notes on Marie Menken by Martina Kudlacek. The film featured Kenneth Anger, Stan Brakhage, Gerard Malanga, Jonas Mekas, and Marie's nephew Joseph J. Menkevich.

In 2007, Menken's Glimpse of the Garden (1957) was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

Glimpse Of The Garden, Exposition Universelle et Internationale de Bruxelles 1958


"There is no why for my making films. I just liked the twitters of the machine, and since it was an extension of painting for me, I tried it and loved it. In painting I never liked the staid and static, always looked for what would change the source of light and stance, using glitters, glass beads, luminous paint, so the camera was a natural for me to try but how expensive!" (circa 1966).

External links

Notes on Marie Menken (film) (Source:Wikipedia)