Wynwood is now firmly established as Miami’s gallery district, and Mana Contemporary is its anchor tenant. Founded by moving and storage mogul Moishe Mana in New Jersey in 2011, Mana Contemporary is establishing itself as one of the most ambitious, if least heralded and hard to define, private art institutions in the US.
Its New Jersey base has a million sq ft – spread over 35 acres – of profit and non-profit space and includes artists’ studios; exhibition space, including the 50,000 sq ft, Richard Meier-designed Mana Glass Gallery; space for serious collectors to display and store their art; artist services, including a foundry; as well as the Richard Meier Model Museum and the International Center of Photography. And Mana is planning to double that and add a theatre and restaurants. It has a smaller offshoot in Chicago, opened in 2013.
The huge event and exhibition venue at Mana Wynwood, meanwhile, covers a measly six acres, though Mana has bought up eight blocks in the area – covering 30 acres – and is planning to add more exhibition space and affordable artist studios.
There was a large and steady stream of Uber cabs into Wynwood from South Beach during Art Basel Miami and many were here to see Mana’s three-part contribution to the week’s events. It has pulled together selections from three private collections, two focusing on Latin American art and another on Californian art of the last half-century. All are museum quality.
The Argentinean collector Jorge M Pérez has already left his mark on Miami. The Herzog & De Meuron-designed Pérez Art Museum Miami, opened in 2013 and a new home for what had been the Miami Art Museum, includes over 100 works from Pérez’s private collection. (Craig Robbins, another local real estate mogul and creator of the city’s Design District, donated a similar amount.)
The new Mana show, titled 'A Sense of Place', includes more than 50 of Pérez’s more recent acquisitions, all by artists from Latin America, and includes works from Julio Le Parc, Guillermo Kuitca, Oscar Muñoz and Los Carpinteros. 'Everything you are I am Not', a sort of companion show, brings together works collected by Tiroche DeLeon. And while there is some cross over with the Pérez exhibition, the work here has perhaps more of a street-art edge.
Frederick Weisman, meanwhile, began collecting Californian art in the mid-1950s and the family-run foundation continues to add to that collection. 'Made in California', a 100-strong selection from the foundation’s 1000-plus and counting haul, includes works by Ed Ruscha, Larry Bell and Robert Irwin.