After having your fill of Manhattan last week, the doctor is shipping you back to Brooklyn, where Northside Art, formerly Northside Open Studios, formerly Greenpoint Open Studios, takes over for the weekend. Although it’s not as massive as its cousin Bushwick Open Studios, and still working to catch up with the Northside Festival’s highly promoted music side, Northside Art has grown over the years to become a strong Williamsburg and Greenpoint presence. And like any good open studios/festival smorgasbord event, it offers a chance to roam the streets, meet artists and see their work in progress, get friendly with your neighbors and maybe pick up some art along the way.
This year’s Northside is divided into three parts (one for each part of the weekend): the official group exhibition, which opens Friday night; an event called Williamsburg Walks, which takes places on Saturday; and Sunday’s open studios. Hyperallergic is co-sponsoring the festival, and on the official map we’ve offered a mini Faile walking tour and some of our favorite street art spots to visit. Here are some more recommendations for shows to see, events to attend and artists to watch.
Events and Exhibitions
Northside Art kicks off with its official group exhibition, Many Conversations, featuring 26 local (North Brooklyn) artists working in a range of media. Curator Peter Gynd will focus on formal and conceptual connections between the pieces, or the “the contextual relationships that exist when artwork interacts with artwork.” Sounds like the conversation might get a little heady, but hopefully interesting and weird, too.
Opening party Friday, June 15, 6 pm–midnight; on view Saturday, June 16, 12–8 pm, Sunday, June 17, 12–6 pm
Local favorite Parker’s Box opens a new exhibition on Friday night, just in time for Northside visitors. The show features the work of Michael von Graffenreid, who’s actually a photojournalist more than an “art” photographer, if it’s worth making that distinction anymore. In order to better capture his subjects and their reality and remain invisible, von Graffenreid shot these photos in Cairo with a small panoramic camera held to his chest. The results are surreptitious and riveting.
Opening reception Friday, June 15, 6–9 pm; on view Saturday, June 16, and Sunday, June 17, 1–7 pm
Greenpoint group Fowler Arts Collective will also open a new show on Friday night. Titled Space Half Empty, the exhibition looks inward, studying the effect the collective has had on the work of member artists. Fowler is also participating in Sunday’s open studios day, so a return trip will offer a chance to see more of these artists’ work.
Opening reception Friday, June 15, 7–10 pm; on view Saturday, June 16, and Sunday, June 17, 12–5 pm
Williamsburg Walks is an event that’s part block party, part interactive arts festival, part exhibition. In addition to the sculptures and installations on view, visitors can partake in community mural painting, witness live painting and graffiti performances and get a taro-card reading. Plus, if you miss any of the interactive art making, or want to see how those works hold up the next day, Acme Studio (63 North 3rd Street) will host a viewing party for the installations created during Williamsburg Walks on Sunday. Oh, and yes, since you were wondering: there will nail art.
Saturday, June 16, 2–8 pm (with installation viewing at Acme Studio on Sunday, June 17)
Maybe he’s making fun of Bushwick for having an art fair, or maybe he’s just brilliant, but Larry Walczak, organizer of this event, promises “a hybrid of contemporary arts fair and traditional Brooklyn stoop sale.” How could you go wrong? Expect live performances on Sunday and a chance to buy affordable art, postcards and magazines.
Saturday, June 16, and Sunday, June 17, 12–6 pm
In celebration of Northside Art, and in conjunction with its current exhibition, Spectrum Vision, at Northside hub Reverse Space (meaning you can pick up festival maps and guides here), roving curatorial group Ad Projects is presenting a one-day, large-scale public art installation by artist Amanda Browder. Browder, who is featured in the exhibition indoors, will take to the street to install a 17-foot U-Haul truck draped in fabric donated by people from greater New York City and Toronto — an industrial eyesore transformed into a colorful street sculpture.
Sunday, June 17, all day (Spectrum Vision on view 3–9 pm, with experimental sound performance by Brooklyn electronic collective Heavypet starting at 6 pm)
Studio Building Picks
This Greenpoint standby hosts a slew of studios. Check out Jackie Hoving (#412), whose pictures of animals and humans have a collage-cum-psychedelia aesthetic; Kerry Law (#503), whose Empire States series seems like a painted, eloquent play on Warhol; and Ted McGrath (#512), an illustrator whose work is studiously casual.
Just down the block from the Pencil Factory, this studio-filled building is the home of the above-mentioned Fowler Arts Collective, but it also includes studios from other, independent artists. A standout among them is Mina Karimi (#219), who paints abstractions that look like volcanic eruptions of paint.
This South Williamsburg building hosts Lori Ellison (#6N), whose small, patterned paintings and drawings pulse with intricate obsessiveness, Dana Kane (5th floor) whose paintings of ships have a solitary, spiritual air and a number of other artists.
Solo Studio Picks
Israeli artist Orit Ben-Shitrit uses what is traditionally a beautiful medium, dance, to explore powerfully dark, often violent scenarios. Her videos, performances and photographs explore what happens when bodies grapple with and bear out political power dynamics and mechanisms of control.
Born in Peru, Renzo Ortega makes bold, graphic work that deals with themes of migration and cultural roots. Ortega often incorporate vintage photos or magazine pages in his pieces; the results are collage-inspired but spare and powerful meditations on identity.
Jon Lewis makes gum bichromate print portraits — closeups of people’s faces that are blurred and haunting. And while you’re in the building, swing by Lilly Line’s studio to see large (sometimes wall-size) yet quirky drawings of knobby-kneed women and recycled trash assemblages that look more compelling than they sound.
If you’re up for trekking all the way to the northern tip of Greenpoint, visit James Dinerstein’s studio, where you can see the artist’s stunning sculpture, concrete forms that seem to have melted into place.