|JERSEY CITY, N.J., May 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — On the heels of opening its first commercial exhibition and one of the largest galleries in the United States, Mana Contemporary today revealed plans for the opening of its newest development, the Mana Graffiti Museum. The museum will be the world”s first permanent museum devoted to street art and will be located in a 100,000-square-foot former ice factory near the Holland Tunnel entrance.On May 6, Mana Contemporary”s flagship location in the Journal Square neighborhood of Jersey City hosted a pre-opening for Mana Exposition, its first artist-curated group selling show. The evening attracted more than 1,000 VIP guests to the Mana Glass Gallery, a new 50,000-square-foot commercial gallery designed by Richard Meier and part of Mana Contemporary”s 2 million-square-foot complex. The inaugural Mana Exposition is curated by Ray Smith and titled “All the Best Artists Are My Friends, Part 1,” featuring 50 artists including Rita Ackermann, the Bruce High Quality Foundation, Phong Bui, Francesco Clemente, Alex Katz, Jeff Koons, Julian Schnabel, Shelter Serra, Max Snow, Swoon, and Ai Weiwei.Eugene Lemay, founder and director of Mana Contemporary, originally conceived the flagship building as a street art museum, so the announcement of Mana Graffiti Museum brings his vision full-circle. Lemay has brought on veteran street artists Logan Hicks and Joe Iurato to curate the programming. Features will include rotating exhibitions, a permanent collection, a media center, large-scale exterior murals, an artist billboard, educational programs and workshops, and artist studios.”Mana Contemporary is about creating an artist community, and I am excited to bring this potent and authentic art form and the community surrounding it to Mana,” said Lemay. “We are changing the art world status quo by giving the artists leadership roles.”The Mana Graffiti Museum will showcase street artists from around the world who have made their mark, often illegally, on the public consciousness. Mana Graffiti Museum aligns with Mana Contemporary”s core mission by providing space and resources for a community of artists to collaborate. Artists selected by curators Iurato and Hicks will be given the support and opportunity to create works as large and as ambitious as they can conceive.
Iurato says, “It”s important not to let go of the ideologies behind the art form, which can get lost within the confines of museum walls. One of our initiatives will include a community wall outside the museum that”s free and available to anyone with a brush or a can of paint to practice their craft.”
Construction is expected to begin in June 2014 on The Mana Graffiti Museum at 581 Monmouth Street, Jersey City, NJ, and public programming is expected to begin in September 2014.