‚glimpse of the garden‘ von marie menken
The realist sees only the front of a building, the outlines, a street, a tree. Marie Menken sees in them the motion of time and eye. She sees the motions of heart in a tree. … A rain that she sees, a tender rain, becomes the memory of all rains she ever saw; a garden that she sees becomes a memory of all gardens, all color, all perfume, all mid-summer and sun.
In his touching Village Voice obituary for Ms. Menken, who died in 1970 at 61 after a short illness, Jonas Mekas wrote: „There was a very lyrical soul behind that huge and very often sad bulk of a woman, and she put all that soul into her work. The bits of the songs that we used to sing together were about the flower garden, about a young girl tending her flower garden. Marie’s films were her flower garden. Whenever she was in her garden, she opened her soul, with all her secret wishes and dreams. They are all very colorful and sweet and perfect, and not too bulky, all made and tended with love, her little movies.“
What Mr. Mekas doesn’t mention is that the title subject in one of Ms. Menken’s earliest films, „Glimpse of the Garden“,belonged to one of her husband’s former male lovers. (This intimate connection might explain why the film is not titled „Glimpse of a Garden.“) There is something terribly moving about this biographical detail, which goes unmentioned in the documentary as well, because it suggests a generosity of soul — or, perhaps, more rightly, an insistence on life and self-affirmation — already evident in Ms. Menken’s images. Behind these delicate yet resilient, unmistakably feminized flowers, we intuit someone who could find beauty in the world, no matter how badly that world might have treated her. And not just find beauty, but also return it to the world, though on her own emphatic terms.
manohla dargis, ‚who´s afraid of an artist who loved flowers?‚, new york times (review of ‚notes on marie menken‚)
… the surrealist poet Charles Henry Ford …took me to a party that Marie Menken and her husband Willard Maas, underground filmmakers and poets, gave at their place in Brooklyn Heights at the foot of Montague Street.
Willard and Marie were the last of the great bohemians. They wrote and filmed and drank (their friends called them „scholarly drunks“) and they were involved with all the modern poets. Marie was one of the first to do a film with stop-time. She filmed lots of short movies, some with Willard, and she even did one on a day in my life. …
Later on I put her in a lot of my movies like Chelsea Girls and The Life of Juanita Castro.
andy warhol, popism: the warhol ’60s
marien menken in ‚chelsea girls‘