Rare Images of the Kennedys and Radziwills Summering in Montauk


If you’re not ready for today to be the first day of autumn, we’ve got quite the antidote: This Side of Paradise an exhibition of rare and personal images of the Kennedy and Radziwill families taken by filmmaker Jonas Mekas during the summers he spent with them in Montauk in the 1970s. This exhibit, which opens September 24 at the agnès b. Galerie Boutique, marks the first time these images are on view in New York City in their entirety. The photos were taken from the original 16mm film This Side of Paradise: Fragments of an Unfinished Biography, shot during the time Mekas spent with John Jr. and Caroline with their cousins Anthony and Tina Radziwill at a house that Lee Radziwill rented from Andy Warhol.

“The time was still very close to the untimely, tragic death of John F. Kennedy,” Mekas wrote in his journal. “Jackie wanted to give something to her children to do, to help ease the transition of life without a father.” Peter Beard suggested to Jackie Kennedy that Mekas, the founder of Anthology Film Archives, was the man to introduce her kids to cinema. She said yes. Mekas bought John Jr. and Caroline a 16mm camera, and wrote a “mini-textbook” with simple exercises. “And that’s how it all began,” he wrote. Click through for a slideshow of images on view at the exhibit, and take in a special screening of the film on October 13.

Caroline trying on a Chinese hat, in New York’s Chinatown. 1972 © Jonas Mekas

John walking into the Atlantic. Montauk. August, 1972 © Jonas Mekas

John tells a secret to Anthony, in a car, driven by Lee, on our way back to Montauk. August, 1972 © Jonas Mekas

John John filming Tina. Montauk. August, 1972 © Jonas Mekas

Anthony and John dancing to a Mick Jagger record. Montauk. August, 1972 © Jonas Mekas

John and Anthony, Montauk Sunset. August, 1972 © Jonas Mekas

Caroline. Atlantic Ocean at Montauk. August, 1972 © Jonas Mekas

Myself, being happy at the ocean, escapee from New York. Montauk. August 1972 © Jonas Mekas