Marie Menken  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Marie Menken (1909-1970) was an experimental filmmaker, actress, painter, and New York socialite who appeared in several Andy Warhol films. She shot and directed several of her own films during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s.

Marie Menken was born Marie Menkevicius in New York City on May 25, 1909. The daughter of Catholic Lithuanian immigrants, she grew up in Brooklyn, where she became interested in painting at a young age. In 1931 she met and married Willard Maas, a professor of literature at Wagner College in Staten Island.

Maas financially supported her art: first paintings done in mixed media and later experimental films. Maas and Menken were both extremely social individuals who were known for their "wild parties," their sophisticated salons, and were referred to as "scholarly drunks" and the "last of the great bohemians" by Andy Warhol. Their exploits were documented by their friend, playwright Edward Albee, in his 1962 play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. Indeed, the main characters, Martha and George, were based on Marie and Willard whose volatile relationship create much of the conflict in the award winning play.

Menken's films and radical filmmaking techniques influenced directors Kenneth Anger and Stan Brakhage, both of whom cite Menken as an influence and friend.

Marie Menken appeared in the Andy Warhol film Chelsea Girls (1966) in the role as Mother. She also appeared in vaious other Warhol screen tests, short films, and as Juanita Castro in Warhol's satirical film, The Life of Juanita Castro (1965).

In 2006, filmmaker Martina Kudlacek released a comprehensive documentary titled Notes on Marie Menken. The film features archival footage, clips from many of Menken's films, and interviews with Kenneth Anger, Stan Brakhage, Gerard Malanga, and Jonas Mekas.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Marie Menken" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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