Mana Contemporary's art fair debut made a massive impression
Mana Miami, Mana Contemporary's inaugural Miami art fair, was a resounding success with six days of robust sales and events that attracted an engaged audience of international arts patrons, professionals, and cultural influencers. Held from December 2 to 7, 2014 at Mana's Wynwood campus, a 140,000-square-foot former warehouse that covers 22 acres, the fair offered 15,000 visitors a diverse roster of exhibitions and programming. Unique to the organization's commitment to encouraging community in the art world, Mana Miami's immensely spacious curation gave viewers unprecedented, extraordinary access to the contemporary works on view.
In the main space, three dynamic and distinct exhibitions were presented: Mana Monumental, a selection of large-scale works by artists who have a studio in, have exhibited at, or are otherwise connected to Mana, such as Francesco Clemente,Carole A. Feuerman, Urs Fischer, David Salle, Julian Schnabel, and Maxwell Snow; GLE at Mana, recent projects from the celebrated silkscreen-printing studio Gary Lichtenstein Editions, featuring collaborations with luminaries such as Marina Abramovic, Robert Indiana, and Richard Meier; and Dirty Geometry, a survey of Latin American artists who twist geometric abstraction with a playful, erotic ethos. In the VIP Lounge, a never-before-seen series of drawings by Richard Prince caused a stir.
Also on the Mana Miami campus, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) organized a powerful exhibit of André 3000 Benjamin's custom jumpsuits designed for Outkasts's 2014 reunion tour. Benjamin participated in a roundtable conversation, part of the Mana Sessions, to discuss the creative process behind the i feel ya exhibition.
"I wanted people to read the suits and say, 'Yeah, I feel that,'" said Benjamin. "If I say something, and somebody connects with that, that's the ultimate."
Other highlights included a discussion about the evolution of independent art journals hosted by The Brooklyn Rail, musings on alternative museum pedagogy by members of the Bruce High Quality Foundation, and expressions of non-conformity presented byWitches of Bushwick.
Additionally, Mana Miami's Writer's Lounge, co-hosted by The Brooklyn Rail, featured a WiFi-enabled oasis for journalists covering the fairs. Amenities included complimentary refreshments and a daily happy hour sponsored by Estrella Damm Lager.
SCAD president Paula Wallace, André 3000 Benjamin, and painter Jimmy O'Neal (L-R). Photo by Kendall Tichner.
"The giant paintings and sculptures on view looked small in the sweeping space, which is exhilarating in itself." - Miami Herald