The Mana Five with
James English Leary


The Manalog team is excited to introduce the first edition of the Mana Five, a series of questions for an individual in our community.

Born in Chicago in 1982, James English Leary is a painter, filmmaker, and educator. He was selected as a Mana Resident in 2014, and currently has a studio on the first floor. His shaped canvases are vaguely corporeal, lending an abject humor to the abstract riots of color.

James’s recent solo exhibitions include "Triple Motherfucker" at Vito Schnabel Projects, New York, "Rorschach Rhapsody" at Galeria Leyendecker, Tenerife, Canary Islands, and “The Joys of Mortgaging Your Future” at Boyfriends, Chicago. His work has been included in the Whitney Biennial, Greater New York show at MoMA PS1 and the Sundance Film Festival. James is a founding member of The Bruce High Quality Foundation. He is also a recipient of a 2015 Tiffany Foundation Award. For more information, visit

What’s the first piece of art that you remember feeling impacted by or connected to?
The Wizard of Oz which still fills me with hallucinatory, pubescent yearning.

What are you reading right now? 
A Vindication of the Rights of Women by Mary Wollstonecraft.

If money was no object, what work of art would you buy the person you love?
Van Gogh’s painting of his boots, which is the greatest love painting ever made.

If you could collaborate with any artist, living or dead, who would you choose?
Alfred Hitchcock.

What music puts you in the right mood to create? (or If you don’t listen to music, what other things get you to work?)
I put on His Girl Friday with Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant in the background and listen to the dialogue when I work.

Photo by Crystal Gwyn, 2014.

Welcome to the newly
relaunched Manalog!


So much has been going on at Mana Contemporary—not only at our flagship location in Jersey City, but also at our Chicago and Miami branches—and our community is continually expanding with more and more artists, collaborators, and exhibitions. Every day, new projects begin, artworks come to life, and inspiration takes flight. We’re immensely proud of what goes on here, and we want you to be part of it.

Just this past year, we welcomed the addition of Ayn Foundation with a captivating series of crosses from the iconic Austrian painter Arnulf Rainer; The International Center of Photography (ICP) at Mana opened its gallery on our 6th floor; we launched the Mana Urban Arts Project with Shepard Fairey’s largest mural to date; Mana Wine began offering interactive wine tastings and events; our Chicago location participated in the first Chicago Architecture Biennial with a presentation of Richard Meier’s process and vision; during Miami Art Week, our Wynwood location hosted a blockbuster program of exhibitions; and Mana Contemporary was named one of the Top 10 Private Museums in the U.S. by Artnet News.

We’ll be updating twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays with special, behind-the-scenes posts: interviews, photo essays, short films, artist tips, even recipes and style advice (Mana folks have a lot of style!) and we’ll throw in some extra social media features every once in a while, so don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram! As most of you know, Mana’s major openings are held quarterly, and the preparations and excitement that lead up to them have become the stuff of legend.

Our first post is coming along in two days: we’re presenting our resident artist James English Leary, a painter and filmmaker, with the Mana 5, our special questionnaire, so check in to see how he responds.


Until then,

The Manalog team