Jonas Mekas, an internationally renowned avant-garde filmmaker, spoke about the creation of a visual arts centre: “Let me imagine what should be stored and displayed at this centre, in addition to the works of Jurgis Mačiūnas and Jonas Mekas. It should not be just a museum - a place dedicated to full collections, that is, for what was created by J. Mačiūnas, FLUXUS artists and me. It should be a place for present-day artists working in the fields of film, video, computer art and mixed genres. At the same time, it must be a centre for an overview of the works of artists who have created in these genres – from the beginning to the present times. The centre should be the avant-garde flag bearer of all kinds of art."
The centre's objectives includes promoting film classics, intellectual, documentary and national cinema and video art; to collect and permanently exhibit works of famous 20th-century Lithuanian emigrants Jonas Mekas and Jurgis Mačiūnas, as well as various objects related to their life and works, like sketches, posters, photographs, work accessories, equipment, household items; and to search for, find and exhibit the works of young Lithuanian visualists. The Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Centre was established to promote film classics, intellectual, documentary and national cinema and video art. The centre plans to set up a film archive to store all avant-garde cinema data.
One of the centre’s main missions is to transfer the creative legacy of world famous artists from New York – Jurgis Mačiūnas and Jonas Mekas – to Vilnius. In 2007, the centre signed an agreement with world-renowned cinematographer Jonas Mekas following the purchase of the FLUXUS collection. With around 2,600 works, the FLUXUS collection is the third-largest FLUXUS collection in the world, after the New York Museum of Modern Art and the Stuttgart State Gallery.
The collection includes works by J. Mačiūnas for Film-Makers Cinematheque, Film Cuture magazine, J. Mekas projects, exclusive works and documentation related to the establishment of the SOHO district, as well as works and texts from J. Mačiūnas' private life. The collection includes works by famous avant-gardists like Robert Morris, Nam June Paik, Jonas Mekas, Yoko Ono, On Kawara, Donald Judd, Yvonne Rainer, Alison Knowles, Michael Heizer, Joan Jonas, Claes Oldenburg and many more.
Reclaiming the work of two of the world's most influential avant-gardists, Lithuanian emigrants Jonas Mekas and Jurgis Mačiūnas to their homeland, Vilnius is thus qualified to become the new global FLUXUS centre of the 21st century.