This year's Northside Festival includes an unprecedented contemporary art lineup, featuring not only new exhibitions, opening receptions, performances and special events at just about every gallery in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, but also the more than 150 participants in Northside Open Studios. We'll get to all of them in a minute, but first, here are some of the gallery shows you should get to during Northside.
Our Cult's Classic at The Boiler (191 North 14th Street): This group show of MFA graduates from Virginia Commonwealth University features pleasantly hypnotic video (like Hannah Walsh's cheerleader endurance test "An Awesome") and spectacular sculptures (like Will Machin's giant, spinning, mill-like scrap wood wheel). Plus the newly renovated industrial boiler has been expanded, and they've replaced those plywood walls with proper sheetrock and the space looks real good.
Howard Gross: Watching Shadows Fade Into Light at Causey Contemporary (92 Wythe Avenue): The sculptor's new show of incredibly detailed tile-like wall relief sculptures and surreal abstract drawings opens on Friday night, 6-9pm.
Kyle Ranson and Sara Thustra: Shit. Free Art n Good Times at Cinders Gallery (28 Marcy Avenue): The two San Francisco-based artists have very compatible styles, full of bold colors, rough-hewn materials, text and illustration-style human figures. They got to explore those similarities in a series of new collaborative paintings made for this show, the second in Cinders' new space. There'll be special performances by Berbere Superstar, B Woo and Fortress of Amplitude at Cinders on Saturday from 8pm onward.
Paint It Now at the Fowler Arts Collective (67 West Street, 2nd Floor): Eighteen artists, including curators Thomas Buildmore and Scott Chasse, armed with brushes and buckets of black paint, collaborated on a series of huge murals that span six huge walls in this Greenpoint gallery and studio space. Especially impressive are sections by street artists like Darkclouds, Jessica Hess and Keely, though the entire epic collaboration is very strong. Fowler will also be hosting a special Northside reception on Friday from 7-11pm.
Jack Henry: Fool's Gold at Greenpoint Gallery (390 McGuinness Boulevard): Our favorite discovery from the recent Bushwick Open Studios, Henry makes his Brooklyn solo debut featuring his latest series of resin totems in bold, neon colors embedded with all matter of trash found near his studio on the streets of Bushwick.
Jenny Morgan: One and the Many at Like the Spice (224 Roebling Street): Have you seen Jenny Morgan's incredibly detailed, partly sanded-down portrait paintings yet? If not, this is the perfect opportunity to remedy that situation, and if you've already seen the large, neon-tinted works in her latest show, you could probably use to see them again before the exhibition closes on Sunday.
Boxhockey!!! at Pandemic Gallery (37 Broadway): What is boxhockey? It's a kind of hybrid of foosball and floor hockey, and here you'll not only get to play it to your heart's content, but also check out ten custom-painted boyhockey sets decorated by local artists including Don Pablo Pedro, Keely, Stikman and Wrona, beginning with Saturday's opening party from 7-11pm.
Briac Leprêtre: Like It Is at Parker's Box (193 Grand Street): It's the last weekend of the French conceptual painter, sculptor and installation artist's subtly strong show, whose centerpieces are so big and unassuming you might not notice them until you leaf through the checklist. Aside from those, a series of watercolor paintings reveal domestic interiors mid-construction, with unadorned drywall suggesting the home renovation version of a blank canvas.
John O’Connor: What Is Toronto??? at Pierogi (177 North 9th Street): Another about-to-close show, though of a markedly different sort from Leprêtre's muted conceptualism—O'Connor's epic, rainbow-hued drawings aren't just hallucinogenic patterns, but actual quasi-informative infographs plotting things like, for instance, the side-effects of popular prescription drugs.
Check back soon for our picks from the 160-something artists and spaces participating in Northside Open Studios.