The best kept secret and brilliant gem of the art world outside of Manhattan got the entire AF team doing a day trip to Chill Town Jersey City to the “Sleeping Tiger” of art centers which is Mana Contemporary last May 4th. Housed in an ultra spacious former 1920’s tobacco manufacturing industrial building, the extensive space and high production value gave a SUPER sized array of art exhibitions to go along with its huge square footage. Three exhibitions of note: Nobuyoshi Araki at the first floor with the largest U.S. exhibition of more than 150 works of this most prolific and controversial Japanese photographer (warning: graphic content in this show and the motivation to see it since it’s impossible to view this in a museum or even a gallery.) / MECA, the Middle East Center for the Arts, on the third floor presented video art by Palestinian women based in Israel – Voices from the Interior / ESKFF (Eileen S. Kaminsky Family Foundation) presented Obsession, selected works from five contemporary art collectors on the 1st and 6th floors. The fourth floor had a glass walled dance studio with a live rehearsal, a café and open access to artist studios as well. To cap off the entire experience, the annexed beer garden hosted live music, refreshments and a celebratory vibe that made it worth the shuttle service or drive across the Hudson. In my opinion, the “Sleeping Tiger” has roused itself and pounced upon the consciousness of everyone in attendance. This is Mana – like a tiger, it sits still but you know it is not to be ignored. The deep rumbling will be heard soon. It is not a matter of when this happens but rather, how soon it will grab you. Be a pioneer and explore past the Empire State as art is just not confined to the glamorous enclaves of Manhattan. This art center is off the hook and insanely astounding as its possibilities are endless. So go pounce on it before everyone else does!
Open to the Public: Monday through Friday (9 am – 6 pm) & openings held on specific weekends
888 Newark Avenue. Jersey City, NJ 07306
text by: Oscar A. Laluyan
event photography by: Max Noy