Mike Weiss (3rd from left) mingles with the press corps - photo by Erick Sanchez
It is safe to say that this is Jersey City’s largest art center and just a PATH train ride away. This is the brainchild of two artists, Eugene Lemay as Executive Director and visionary artist Yigal Ozeri. The core thrust of Mana Contemporary is to depart from the standards of the art industry by the self-sustaining and expansion of facilities and teams that are visionaries who surpass the norm. The center incorporates the three vital elements in art: creation, collection and management along with the white cube hot aesthetic and Spartan cleanliness of New York’s best galleries.
Arte Fuse crossed the threshold after clearance from a fish eye camera outside then it was all pristine white, expansive, and loft high grandeur just on the premium of so much space that caught our breath. How can people miss this? We were guided up to the sixth floor to view the Eileen S. Kaminsky Family Foundation recent acquisitions and able to talk to Eileen herself who was enthusiastic to have some of her pieces shown and housed at Mana. Mike Weiss, the Chelsea gallerist, was on hand to lend his expertise to curate the choice morsels from the collection. Eileen finds the open relationship between collector and dealer vital in pursuing her passion then shares it to the public. The 4,000 square foot sixth floor space will be home to her valuable art collection with more shows planned for the future.
Off the galleries was an astounding performance space with the Shin Wei Dance Group with Undivided Divided. It is a multimedia feast as dancers perform on fifty 7’ X 7’ tiles painted by their bodies. Just the stillness of the entire room surges excitement of what’s to come as video projections on the wall showed previous performances from the Fall 2011 Park Avenue Armory.
Finally the access to artist’s studios on the fourth floor that housed: Yigal Ozeri’s photo-realist paintings, large scale geometric painter Doug Argue, vibrant abstractionist Trudy Benson, hyper-realist sculptor Carole A. Feuerman, and more talented vanguards of the arts. Most have moved from Manhattan or Brooklyn to praise the luxury of space, natural light streaming from windows and the dynamic structure the center will foster as the ultimate environment to create more masterpieces.
Besides housing the creative, the center boasts an expansive floor square footage that had us blown away and it is no surprise that they also have art storage facilities serving over 600 clients. Business developer Micha Lang and Victor Kamara manage this aspect of the center. In climate-controlled and high security sections of MANA, the clients include major collectors, museums, galleries, and designers based in New York City and beyond. Added amenities include art restoration and conservation, an art supply store, and other services that are all housed inside for ultimate convenience.
Future events and plans include the Spring 2012 opening of MECA (Middle East Center for the Arts), Joshua Kirsch’s interactive pieces on the first floor, a public sculpture garden, café, new media and fashion center, more galleries and studios are coming to expand this unique diamond across the Hudson in being a stellar center for the Arts. It fulfills their mission of being an axis around which everyone in the art industry can exchange and collaborate to produce work and events that will break the mold then shoot straight out of the stratosphere.
The MANA CONTEMPORARY center is indeed a giant piece of ambrosia sent down from heaven. For us the mere observers, it was a virtual feast but we are still hungry to see what’s coming on the horizon. As they say in media parlance: Stay Tuned to See What Happens Next!
888 Newark Avenue
Jersey City, NJ 07306
For more information and upcoming events, please check out their website:
article by: Oscar A. Laluyan
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