“All the Best Artists Are My Friends”
Here's an interesting curatorial challenge. Find art that has both the size and presence to stand up to 50,000 square feet of column-free space, punctuated by three long, boxlike, freestanding walls that resemble minimalist sculptures, and two exterior walls of floor-to-ceiling glass. Such is Jersey City's new Mana Exposition facility (aka the Glass Gallery), a former industrial structure transformed by architect Richard Meier. Mexican-American artist Ray Smith confidently—and successfully—inaugurates the venue with a show of 80 of his closest artist-friends: 44 familiar-to-famous names in the sweeping main hall (Saint Clair Cemin, Francesco Clemente, Julian Schnabel, Ron Gorchov, Rita Ackermann, Ai Weiwei) and 36 emerging and midcareer artists in the side gallery (Jay Batlle, Phong Bui).