Mana Contemporary


While visiting Ryan Bock‘s solo exhibit at Apostrophe NYC‘s Mana Contemporary studio space last month, I had the opportunity to speak to Ki Smith who — together with his brother Sei —  founded Apostrophe NYC  back in 2012. For the past several months Base 12, Apostrophe NYC‘s 12 emerging artists, have been working in a 8000-square-foot space through a one-year residency program at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City.

This is such an ideal space. How did this residency come your way?

Mana actually reached out to us after seeing the wide press coverage we received in response to our guerrilla-style pop-up exhibits.

Your pop-up shows were certainly unconventional! It’s not surprising that they — particularly your intervention at the Whitney Museum — generated so much media attention. It was your pop-up exhibits at the Kosciuszko Street stop on the J Line, in fact, that initially attracted my attention. When I first met you, you were based in Bushwick. 

Yes. But as a result of the opportunity that Mana offered us, several of us have since moved to Jersey City.  And we love it here! Mana is a very unique place and is located in a great area that’s just a short walk from Little India and all its great restaurants.


With your distinct styles and sensibilities, you guys all seem to work so well together. 

Since starting the Base 12 project we have all gotten to know each other quite well and I feel like every one has gained a lot of respect for each other’s work and practices. And with 12 of us working together to navigate the contemporary art world, we are able to accomplish so much more than if we were working individually — 12 times as much!

Here at Mana each Base 12 artist has been publishing a book to accompany his or her exhibit. That’s quite impressive.

I feel like making books and records of exhibitions is really important and something that very few smaller galleries do for artists, so we decided that we had a good opportunity to create a new company Apostrophe NYC Books. And in classic Apostrophe style we do everything in house, from printing to binding to working with the artists to designing and hand silkscreening the covers.  Making books is another great way to share art, and because of the especially quick turnaround on the shows we are currently doing, it’s also a great way to memorialize shows that people might miss the opportunity to visit.

What’s ahead?

The following solo exhibits are scheduled: Charlie Hudson on July 8th; Kolter Hodgson on July 22nd; Alana Dee Haynes on August 5th; Morell Cutler on August 19th; Julia Powers on September 2nd; Caslon Bevington on September 16th and James Reyes on September 30th. And next Saturday night, July 15th, is the opening of Base 12: Little Big Show, a group exhibit that critiques assumptions of virtual versus “real” representation with two allied narratives in sequential galleries: the first in an exhibition of miniature digital reproductions, the second in a series of original artworks.

That sounds very exciting! I can’t wait to see what’s ahead for you all!

Note: Tonight is the opening of  Charlie Hudson‘s solo exhibit.


1 Ryan Bock artwork — with Apostrophe NYC co-founder Ki Smith

2  Julia Powers

3  Kolter Hodgson

4  James Reyes

5  Charlie Hudson

Photos and interview by Lois Stavsky


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A collaborative hub for artists, the Mana BSMT occupies the entire lower level of Mana Contemporary‘s Jersey City headquarters. After completing their residency there, Apostrophe NYC’s Base 12 artists presented their artworks in a series of installations and performances this past Saturday evening. The image pictured above was fashioned by Ryan Bock, whose talents have also made their way onto walls on the Lower East Side and Bushwhick. Here are several more images we captured:

Also by Ryan BockSacrificial Shanking


Kolter Hodgson, Cryami, close-up


James Reyes

James-Reyes-art-Mana-BSMT (1)

James Rubio with his new Power of Prayer paintings


The Real Love Child, close-up


Sei Smith, Yellow and Blue — as observed by Houda Lazrak — with artist as masseur


Alana Dee Haynes, Photo Booth — with fashions designed by the artist


Photo credits: 1-7 Lois Stavsky and 8 Houda Lazrak

Note: Hailed in a range of media from Wide Walls to the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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We recently had the opportunity to speak to Bushwick Collective‘s founder and curator, the indefatigable Joe Ficalora, as he readies for this year’s 5th Annual Block Party, June 3-5.

As you prepare for this year’s 5th Annual Block Party, can you share with us some of this past year’s highlights?

Last June’s Annual Block Party was certainly a highlight!  The entire community came together as a family. It was a beautiful sight! A special highpoint of this past year was the Bushwick Collective‘s collaboration with Mana Urban Arts. We had the chance to go down to Miami in December during Art Basel. NYC artists, along with local Miami ones and artists from across the globe, painted together, transforming the inside and outside of the RC Cola Factory. It was a particular thrill to have seven-year-old Lola join us and watch her paint with Chor Boogie. We’ve also facilitated murals in Miami and Jersey City in coordination with Mana Urban Arts. And – more recently — during Frieze Art Week, we participated in Art New York on Pier 54 with Sipros in support of the Perry J. Cohen Foundation.


What would you say was your greatest challenge this past year?

My greatest challenge was dealing with all the marketers trying to hunt down walls. Now that this neighborhood is “cool,” they feel that they can take advantage of the public space without giving back.


What can we expect at this year’s Block Party?

There will be live painting, food trucks, local vendors, special activities for families with kids and surprise performers.  A pop-up exhibition at 198 Randolph Street will feature artists from the The Parsons School of Design at the New School, the official sponsor of the weekend, along with local artists. The Museum of the City of New York will be projecting images of Bushwick from over 100 years ago and sharing a huge blown-up photo of Bushwick in 1909. All money from the artwork sold at the exhibit — that opens to the public at 7pm on Friday, June 3, and can be viewed on Saturday and Sunday from 10am-5pm — will go directly to the artists. Local artists will also be exhibiting their work independently. Performers opening the weekend include: The BBoy Rebels (NYC Original Subway Dancers), DJ Mister Cee, Loaf Muzik, Monsters of Brooklyn, Thorough, Thirsting Howl lll, Styles P and Jim Jones. And on Saturday — in addition to JADAKISS — DJ Statik Selektah and friends, Lil Waah, Joell Ortiz, Dave EastChris Rivers, son of the legendary Big Pun, and The BBoy Rebels will perform. Keep posted to our website for updates.


Who are some artists we can look forward to meeting?

Artists from everywhere will be painting. Among them are: D*Face, Case Maclaim, Sipros, Atomik, Don Rimx and Trans1. Local artists include: Giz, Tats Cru, CrashMeres, Topaz, Plasma Slug, Lola the Illustrator and Hops 1.


That sounds great! What’s ahead for the Bushwick Collective?

We will continue to grow as an organization and evolve with time. We look forward to further collaborations with Mana Urban Arts.  We also look forward to establishing new partnerships.


1. Giz, Ghost, Such, RIS Crew

2. Sipros

3. Case Maclaim

4. Oji

5. Starfighter

Photo credits: 1 & 3 City-as-School intern Sol Raxlen; 2, 4 & 5 Lois Stavsky; interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky with Sol Raxlen

Note: Hailed in a range of media from the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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In collaboration with the Mana Urban Arts Project, the Bushwick Collective transformed Wynwood’s former RC Cola Factory into a Mecca of first-rate street art and graffiti. During Miami Art Week, celebrated artists from across the globe painted alongside local Miami and NYC-based artists. Here are a few more images from among the dozens of murals I saw last week while visiting Wynwood:

London-based James Cochran aka Jimmy C

"Jimmy C"

London-based Shok1


NYC-based Giz RIS


NYC-based Lady Aiko


Dutch artist David Louf aka Mr June


Miami-based Hoxxoh


West Coast-based Christina Angelina


First image is a close-up from a huge mural by David Sepulveda aka Rimx

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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Coinciding with On Our Hands, his solo exhibit of mixed media paintings opening tomorrow evening at Chelsea’s Jacob Lewis Gallery, Shepard Fairey is bringing his distinct aesthetic to two Mana Contemporary spaces in Jersey City.  The following photos were captured earlier this week by Audrey Connolly aka byte girl at the Mana Ice House, 581 Monmouth Street:

At work with spray can in hand



On a brief, contemplative break


And at work with his crew


The mural in its final stages — representing Shepard Fairey’s aesthetic vision fusing Russian Constructivism, Chinese Communist propaganda and Americana


All photos by bytegirl

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Featuring 30 artists from 15 different countries, Theorum: You Simply Destroy the Image I Always Had of Myself opens today, Sunday, May 3, at Mana Contemporary‘s 50,000 square foot Glass Gallery. Curated by Ocravio Zaya, it presents an eclectic range of rich artworks in various media from painting and photography to large-scale installations. Visually engaging and psychologically charged, the works on exhibit question and challenge our perceptions of ourselves and appearances, in general, while “contemplating a world turned upside-down.” Here are a few more images:

NYC-based Susan Siegel, one of many images from an elegantly dreamy installation of her paintings

Susan Siegel-art-Mana-Contemporary

Lima native Santiago Roose, (Bridge) Between the particular contradiction and general antagonism

"Santiago Roose"

 Cuba native Marìa Magdalena Campos-Pons, My Mother Told Me I Am Chinese

Maria-Magdalena Campos-Pons

Lima native Elena Damiani, The Discovery


Lima native Nicole Franchy, Hinter Scapes


Puerto Rican artist Radames “Juni” Figuearoa, La Casita Amarilla


Exhibit curator and noted art critic Octavio Zaya, center standing, in La Casita Amarilla


Along with several other thoroughly engaging exhibitsTheorem: You Simply Destroy the Image I Always Had of Myself — featuring many artists whose works also surface in the public sphere — opens to the public today, Sunday, May 3, at Mana Contemporary, 888 Newark Avenue in Jersey City. Complimentary shuttle service to and from the Mana’s Open House will be provided every half hour starting at 12:30 PM from Milk Studios at 450 West 15th Street in Manhattan and returning every half hour from Mana starting at 2 PM. Mana is also easily accessible via the PATH train’s Journal Square stop. Ample free parking is also provided.

Photo credits: 1, 2 & 4 Sara C. Mozeson; 3, 5-9, Lois Stavsky



The extraordinarily gifted Belgian artist Roa has recently shared his talents and passion for the animal kingdom with us outdoors in Jersey City and indoors at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery. The following images were captured this past Saturday near the entrance to the Holland Tunnel, not far from Mana Contemporary where Roa created his works for Metazoa, currently on exhibit at Jonathan LeVine:



Close-up with Roa at work


The mural, full view


And here is a sampling of ROA‘s interactive works at Jonathan LeVine, largely created on found, salvaged materials:

Sturnus Vulgaris, mixed-media

Roa-Composition  ll-Jonathan-Levine-GalleryRoa-Sturnus Vulgaris-Jonathan-Levine

Composition II: Lutrinate, Salmonidae, Anguilliformes, mixed media

Sturnus Vulgaris, mixed media

Roa-Sylvilagus Audubonii-Jonathan-Levine

NY Canidae, mixed media, rear


Metazoa continues through May 2 at Jonathan LeVine at the gallery’s 529 West 20th Street space.

Note: For a wonderfully interactive view of several pieces check out this post on Colosaal

Photos of Roa in Jersey City by bytegirl; of Roa’s works at Jonathan LeVine, Dani Reyes Mozeson


After six weeks of polishing a five-foot–tall marble cube to perfection back in 1982, German sculptor Ewerdt Hilgemann rolled it down a steep slope. He liked what he saw, as its mangled, contorted forms represented “the ultimate beauty of creation.” And since 1985, Hilgemann has been forging sculptures using a unique vacuum process, which “implodes” geometric shapes causing the material to deform according to natural laws.


At once tough and sensuous, a series of Hilgemann’s seven stainless steel sculptures surfaced on the streets of our city this past summer. We were mesmerized! Opening tomorrow at Mana Contemporary is Panta Rhei, an exhibit featuring six of Hilgeman’s sculptures installed outside the Mana Glass Gallery and inside the building’s lobby. 

Cube Flower, as seen in early fall on Park Avenue

Ewerdt-Hilgemann-Cube Flower-manhattan-sculpture

Dancers, close-up, as seen in early fall on Park Avenue


And at Mana Contemporaryas seen yesterday in the icy snow


The artist


And his wondrous smaller works as viewed indoors at Mana



Also opening tomorrow at Mana Contemporary are: Making Art Dance, curated by Jeffrey Deitch; John Newsom: Rogue Arena and David Levinthal: Hitler Moves East.

The opening events are free and open to the public. You can RSVP here for free transportation from NYC. Shuttle service to and from the event will be provided every half hour starting at 12:30 PM from Milk Studios (450 W. 15th Street) and returning every half hour from Mana starting at 2 PM.

Photos:  1-5 and 7 by Dani Reyes Mozeson; 6 by Lois Stavsky



“Works of art in public spaces can have a highly beneficial effect upon the environment – beautifying it, sparking debate, and nurturing public interest in visual art,” concluded Reykjavik’s Executive City Council in a recently released report. Among those artists selected to add style and intrigue to apartment building walls of Iceland’s capital is the celebrated Icelandic pop artist Erró. As there has always been somewhat of a crossover between street art and comic art, the choice seems perfect. And here at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City, a short ride from downtown Manhattan, an exhibit of the celebrated artist’s works, presented by Galerie Ernst Hilger, opens tomorrow.

Here is another close-up from Erró‘s bold, comic-inspired work, Excalibur Saga, on display:


And his Official Portrait of Sigmund Freud is one of many psychologically intriguing and provocative works also on exhibit:


Mana Contemporary is providing free shuttle service to us New Yorkers to and from tomorrow’s 1pm opening. Buses depart every half hour starting at 12:30pm from Milk Studios at 450 West 15th Street.

Photos of artworks by Lois Stavsky


Carole Feurerman

Among the six remarkable exhibits opening this Sunday, September 29, at Jersey City’s wondrous cultural venue, Mana Contemporary, is an outdoor installation of Carole Feuerman’s extraordinary lifelike sculptures. Included is the debut of her newest work — a sculpture of Olympic gold medalist Lauren Perdue floating in a pool.

Close-up of Olympic gold medalist Lauren Perdue

Carole Feuerman

And here’s a sampling of Carole Feuerman’s other sculptures — all part of a series of swimmers and bathers — displayed on Mana Contemporary’s exterior grounds:

Grande Catalina, 2005-2011

Carole Feuerman

Survival of Serena, 2012

Carole Feuerman

Monumental Shower, 2010

Carole Feuerman

Quan, 2012

Carole Feuerman

And greeting us as we enter the grounds of Mana Contemporary is The Golden Mean, a 16-foot male diver as he readies to do a back dive.

Carole Feuerman

Also opening Sunday of particular interest to those of us who love public art is POP CULTURE: SELECTIONS FROM THE FREDERICK R. WEISMAN ART FOUNDATION.  Among the artists featured with a strong presence on the streets are: John Matos aka Crash, Retna, Keith Haring and LA2. Located at 888 Newark Avenue in Jersey City, Mana Contemporary is a short ride from downtown Manhattan. This Sunday shuttle buses to Mana Contemporary are available every half hour starting at 12:30 pm from Milk Gallery at 450 West 15th Street.

All photos by Dani Reyes Mozeson