Cultured Magazine

Winter 2014

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n its most general meaning, the German term "Gesamtkunstwerk" refers to a work of monumental scale and comprehensive scope: the creator of a "total work of art" aspires to combine the most visceral elements of art, music and theater to create an all-encompassing experience for the viewer. The concept has been popular in architecture, visual arts and opera for over a century, but Mana Contemporary is now bringing that idea to the business of storing, displaying, making and selling art. Mana Contemporary—the two-million-square-foot cultural complex that occupies a former industrial warehouse complex in Jersey City—is owned by Moishe Mana, the magnate behind Moishe's Moving & Storage (and more than 20 other businesses). Established nearly four years ago by Eugene Lemay, a longtime Mana business partner and artist who now serves as the center's CEO and chief curator, Mana Contemporary is an exercise in scale and scope. It currently contains 300,000 square feet of art storage facilities, 110 artist studios, eight gallery spaces and a glass-walled dance studio. By early 2016, it will expand to include the redeveloping of a 25-acre location with a sculpture garden designed by Richard Meier, an entire floor devoted to Far Eastern art, three additional cafes and several more not-for-profit exhibition spaces. In the meantime, Lemay has grand national expansion plans: he recently opened a Chicago outpost, is currently searching for a Los Angeles location and will debut two art fairs during Art Basel this December. When Mana first encouraged Lemay to open an art storage and handling facility, Lemay hesitated. "I thought that instead of furniture, it was just art," he says. But Mana had developed a state-of-the-art collections-management software for their document-storage business, and Lemay realized that this tool could be equally valuable to art collectors who needed to catalog and store their works. He saw that collectors would I An international art empire grows in Jersey City. BY ANNA KATS Eugene Lemay stands in front of his artwork, Untitled, 2011, inside Mana Contemporary. HANDLE WITH CARE PHOTO BY ESTHER MONTORO 122 CULTURED

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