David Opdyke’s “This Land” now on view at Mana Contemporary

The artist is known for his trenchant political send-ups of American culture.

"This Land' by David Opdyke
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"This Land' by David Opdyke

Mana Contemporary invites the public to a new exhibit, now open, of David Opdyke, This Land, an epic vintage postcard mural on the future of a country in ecological peril.

Please email rsvp@manacontemporary.com to schedule your visit. Before traveling to Mana Contemporary, please review our COVID Safety Guidelines.

This Land is an epic mural (16 feet long by 8 feet high) fashioned by New York artist David Opdyke out of vintage American postcards which he then treated with disconcerting painterly interventions. What at first reads as a panoramic birdʼs-eye view of an idyllic alpine valley reveals itself, upon closer examination, to be an array of connected scenes and vignettes.

Across more than five hundred postcards, each one portraying a distinct slice of idealized Americana (town squares, mountain highways, main streets and county seats), Opdykeʼs acerbic, emotionally jarring alterations gradually become evident.

In this prophetic refashioning, forests are aflame, tornadoes torque from one card into the next, a steamboat gets swallowed up whole by some sort of new megafauna, frogs fall like Biblical hail from the sky.

The human responses form a cacophony of desires and demands, panic and denial. Biplanes trail banners urging Repent Now!, others insist Legislative Action Would Be Premature, while still others advertise seats on an actual Ark.

This exhibition coincides with the release of This Land: An Epic Postcard Mural on the Future of a Country in Ecological Peril, a book on Opdyke’s wall piece, with commentary by Lawrence Weschler and an afterword by Maya Wiley, published by the Monacelli Press.

Since David Opdyke, This Land opened at Mana Contemporary, the work has been featured in the Nation and the Atlantic.

ABOUT DAVID OPDYKE

David Opdyke is an artist known for his trenchant political send-ups of American culture. Opdyke’s political awakening in the early 2000s led to a body of work that confronts the horrors of contemporary America. His hyperreal topographical models of suburbs comment on mall culture and suburban sprawl, while his sculptures of ruined monuments mock imperialistic hubris. His work is held in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, MoMA, and the Washington Convention Center.

ABOUT THE MONACELLI PRESS

As a leading publisher of illustrated books for twenty-five years, the Monacelli Press has challenged the conventions of publishing to produce provocative, inspiring, and essential titles on architecture, visual art, interior design, landscape architecture, photography, and applied arts. In 2020 the Monacelli Press became an imprint of Phaidon Press, the world’s premier publisher of the creative arts. The Monacelli Press was founded in 1994 by Gianfranco Monacelli and launched with the seminal title, S,M,L,XL, by Rem Koolhaas and Bruce Mau.

ABOUT MANA CONTEMPORARY

Mana Contemporary fosters an ecosystem of communities dedicated to reshaping the art world, through shared resources and equity of opportunity. Its physical campuses in Jersey City, Chicago, and Miami, as well as a robust digital platform, provide a nexus of community and support through programming, exhibitions, activations, and conversations dedicated to celebrating the creative process.

For more information, visit manacontemporary.com.

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Mana Contemporary
888 Newark Avenue
Jersey City, NJ 07306