Multiple exhibitions opened Sunday in two Jersey City venues: MANA Contemporary and Drawing Rooms.
MANA is by far the largest art storage facility in the metropolitan area, and it's also what can only be described as a gigantic art mall. On their million+ square-foot site they have a framer, a printer (Gary Lichtenstein Editions), a full-service foundry, more than 100 art studios, a dance studio (Karole Armitage is there now), the Richard Meier Model Museum, and thousands of square feet of exhibition space.
But there's something creepy about the place.
|Hallway for the art studios at MANA.|
But with all their money, and all their resources, in the past I've found their exhibitions to be thin and lackluster, and the artists that rented their studios (at least the ones I was able to see) were either amateurish on the one hand, or too-polished commercial on the other.
NOT THIS TIME!
The Pellizzi Family Collections of Francesco Clemente and Chuck Connelly paintings had some of the best work of these artists, and from their best period – the early eighties.
|Installation view, Francesco Clemente; on the right: Two Painters, 1980, gouache on 9 sheets of pondicherry paper joined with handwoven cotton strips, 67 3/4 x 95 1/2 inches.|
|Installation view, Chuck Connelly; on the left: Roller Coaster Car, 1984, oil on canvas, 90 1/2 x 108 1/4 inches.|
Also, the work in MANA's artists' studios was terrific this visit. I don't have time to write about the art (I'm working on part 2 of my Koons post), but here are my top picks:
|Catherine Haggarty – studio 590.|
|Geraldine Neuwirth – studio 570.|
|Ernestine Ruben - studio 468.|
|Rick Klauber - studio 432.|
|Danielle Frankenthal – studio 504.|
Again I don't have time to discuss the work, and only a few of the photographs I took are adequate, but all nine artists (Anne Q. McKeown, Anne Trauben, Maggie Ens, Jeanne Tremel, Suzan Shutan, Ellie Murphy, Nancy Baker, Kate Dodd and Larry Dell – a refreshing eight of the nine are woman) did lively, playful and inventive installations.