With an IRP group, I visited a vast new art expanse in Jersey City- Mana Contemporary. From the Christopher Street PATH Station, it’s very quick trip. Mana is such a New York story – begun in Manhattan when a 25 year old down-and-out Israeli painted a truck red and emblazoned it with “Moishe’s.” Pretty soon, those trucks were all over; the company business was moving and eventually storage.
A few years later, Moishe Mana was very visible and very rich. With his new riches, his own interest in art and an artist friend, another grand (and crazy) idea was born – to transform the decaying industrial wasteland of Jersey City into an artist’s paradise. It would be called it “Mana Contemporary.”
The vision wasn’t so crazy. Now you walk here … through the unassuming gate. Surprise! So many buildings and construction – exhibition spaces, artist studios, machinery, printing and scanning devices, dance studio, latest technologies. All artists’ needs – from materials, storage, exhibition and performance spaces, a foundry are available AND – here’s the best – mostly all viewable by the public. What you see in this unusual complex is not only exhibitions of concepts or finished pieces, but art in the actual making. Smell the paint and hear the chisels. Under construction are residences and there’s a plan for a hotel to accommodate the anticipated flood of visitors who will need 2 – 3 days to get the full view and a complete frisson.
First stop – first stop – the boiler room of Mana, formerly a tobacco factory.
Then Richard Meier
Here Meier and his own model museum inside the main building – models of his buildings and sculptures from metal and wood; e.g. – the Getty in the Santa Monica mountains. Sketches. He’s talking with our Claude. His daughter Ana Meier is a furniture maker. She has her own wing within the Meier area.
The polished floor of an exhibition hall is its own artwork..
In another building – the Glass Factory, a burst of air, glass and whimsy.