By Annie Reuter

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Jersey City art center Mana Contemporary hosted a kick-off party for the Jersey City Annual Artists’ Studio Tour over the weekend, where they showed off a new exhibit, Our Own Directions.

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In addition to the event at the studio’s beer garden, the weekend offered much to art lovers, including a free viewing of the exhibit, a vast collection by Louis and Susan Meisel – with a focus on American pin-up girls.

“The Eileen S. Kaminsky Family Foundation exists to show private collections of art that people would normally not get to see,” said Louis K. Meisel, a dealer and collector for 50 years. “Our collections are unique to us. We collected things long before and in much more depth than anybody actually considered.”

Guests can visit the Eileen S. Kaminsky Family Foundation on the 6th Floor by appointment until January 2012 to view the Meisel’s newest exhibition.

On display is The Great American Pinup, which Meisel has been collecting since the 1970s. Additional highlights include a room of work by Chuck Close, Charles Bell’s painting of a pinball machine and sculptor John De Andrea’s bronze figures.

“John De Andrea actually castes from the human body. He makes the mold right on a person and then casts it in bronze and paints it,” Meisel explained. “It is indistinguishable from a nude living girl. There are four of those pieces in the show, they’re fascinating to see.”

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In 1969, Meisel coined the term Photorealism after he saw a group of artists doing extremely precise photographic looking paintings.

“In reality they were taking pictures of things and then going back and painting pictures of the photographs. The photorealists used the camera instead of the sketchpad,” he said.

Working with realist painters for 40 years, collections by Richard Estes and Audrey Flack, among others are also on display.

Over 100 venues participated in the 21st annual Jersey City Artists’ Studio Tour.

The Mana Art Center is located at 888 Newark Ave. in Jersey City. For more, visit their website.

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Annie Reuter is a freelance writer and the founder of