“Nothing so aggravates an earnest person as a passive resistance,” Melville wrote in Bartleby the Scrivener (1853).

“I Would Prefer Not To,” a group show curated by Kele McComsey, Director of Mana Contemporary, seeks to show the importance that artists have in these times by connecting their work to the same spirit of Bartleby’s repeated line of passive resistance.

Like Bartleby, we need artists who “would prefer not to” live by the rules if it means overlooking the injustices, inequities, and failures of our systems and exploring the complexities of the human condition.

In these days of media overload and global connectivity, where considered language seems nearly obliterated, there seems to be only reaction and immediate response, then hit send. We need to be made to feel uncomfortable if the end result is that it makes us all think, reconsider, and have true dialogue that results in meaningful action.

October 13-November 19, 2023
Art150 Main Gallery
157A 1st Street
Jersey City