- “Couch Sittin’, 2018” by Kierra Johnson.
Staff Pick - Signify
After showing Kierra Johnson’s work at Betti Ono’s recent seven-year anniversary exhibit, Black Women Over Breathing, Betti Ono founder Anyka Barber offered to host Johnson’s first solo exhibition. It’s not surprising — Johnson’s series of photos for Black Women Over Breathing were lush, distinctive pieces focused on the hands of Black women engaged in everyday activities. Now, the Oakland photographer is ready to present a series of portraits in SIGNIFY, which opens to the public with a reception on Friday, May 4. Inspired by the lived experiences of working-class Black people and films such as 1997’s Soul Food and Eve’s Bayou, Johnson uses SIGNIFY to explore the body’s ability to hold onto culture from California to the American South. Taken all together, the photos promise to unspool a narrative that’s personal, reflective, and unapologetic, paying homage to Johnson’s family in Georgia, Alabama, and Ohio. — Janelle Bitker
Friday, May 4, 6-9 p.m., free, Betti Ono Gallery, 1427 Broadway, Oakland, BettiOno.com
Art and Food: A one-night-only pop-up by Top Cap Mushrooms, a gourmet mushroom farm owned and operated by the artist Morgon Proctor and her husband. Fri., May 4, 6-9 p.m., free, Art@Archer, 431 13th St., Oakland.
Beast of No Nation: New paintings by Chaves Smith. Opening reception on Friday, May 4 from 6–9 p.m.., Starting May 5, Tuesdays, Thursdays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Continues through June 23, free, Vessel Gallery, 471 25th St., Oakland, Vessel-Gallery.com.
Bringing the Gallery Home: Home-decor showcase with large and small works of art for sale. Through May 28, free. SLATE contemporary, 473 25th St., Oakland, SlateArt.net.
The Egg Show: A special 'eggshibition' featuring artists from 12 states across the US. Through May 26, 6-9 p.m., free. ArtVale Gallery, 3463 Champion St., Oakland, ArtValeGallery.com.
Francesca Z Designs Launch Party: Preview the collection of Francesca Z Designs ANDROMEDA brand and photography exhibit by Guerrilla Davis including DJ OND4, wine, and appetizers. Fri., May 4, 8:30-11:30 p.m., free. B4BEL4B, 184 10th St., Oakland, B4BEL4B.com.
hallucinatory participation: see art, be art: Using a kaleidoscopic lens to document museum goers, Charlie Milgrim's new photo series re-contextualizes the experience of viewing Bill Ham's light art installation from the De Young Museum's Summer of Love exhibition. Thursdays-Saturdays, 12-6 p.m. Continues through May 5, free, Mercury 20 Gallery, 475 25th St., Oakland, MercuryTwenty.com.
Interior/Exterior: Wayne Jiang presents a fresh cycle of new works which reflect his ongoing interest in contemporary life viewed through an intimate and reflective lens. Fridays, Saturdays, 12-5 p.m. Continues through May 5, free, Manna Gallery, 473 25th St., Oakland, MannaGallery.com.
Kintsugi: A solo exhibition by Esther Traugot. Starting May 4, Thursdays-Saturdays, 12-6 p.m. Continues through June 28, free. Chandra Cerrito Contemporary, 480 23rd St., Oakland, ChandraCerritoContemporary.com.
Natural Systems: A group exhibition featuring Mari Andrews, Linda Armstrong, Mary Button Durell, Liz Hickok, Claudia Tennyson, Laura Splan, and Gail Wight. Starting May 4, Continues through June 28, free. Chandra Cerrito Contemporary, 480 23rd St., Oakland, ChandraCerritoContemporary.com.
Null Extension: Immersive video, soundscapes, and images by Kadet Kuhne, delving into the spatial confinement of subjective perception. Fri., May 4, 5-8 p.m. Runs through May 5, free, Aggregate Space, 801 West Grand Ave., Oakland, AggregateSpaceGallery.org.
Ordinary Amber: Bay Area photographer Morgan Proctor explores the Bay Area's non-monumental architecture, roadside artifacts, and manicured landscapes. Through May 26, 6-9 p.m., free. Art@Archer, 431 13th St., Oakland.
OUSD Arts, Media & Entertainment Student Showcase: Group art exhibition of new works featuring 50 Oakland student artists. Fri., May 4, 6-8 p.m., free. StudioToBe, 906 Washington St., Oakland, StudioToBe.com.
participation: see art, be art: Using a kaleidoscopic lens to document museum goers, Charlie Milgrim's new photo series re-contextualizes the experience of viewing Bill Ham's light art installation from the De Young Museum's Summer of Love exhibition. Fri., May 4, 6-9 p.m. Continues through May 5, free, Mercury 20 Gallery, 475 25th St., Oakland, MercuryTwenty.com.
Phyllotaxis and Parastichy in a Time of Love and War: For the past century, botanists have studied the nature of phyllotaxis and the algorithmic beauty of plant growth patterns. The science that uncovers these systems that create life is the inspiration for this series of paintings and prints. Fri., May 4, 6-9 p.m. Continues through May 5, free, Mercury 20 Gallery, 475 25th St., Oakland, MercuryTwenty.com.
San Quentin CARES: Artists at San Quentin State Prison exhibit their work. 100 percent of all proceeds will go to the Women's Cancer Resource Center. Fri., May 4, 5-9 p.m., free, 2278 Telegraph Ave., Oakland.
SLATE Spring Collection: Fresh works from Maria Burtis, Amy Donaldson, Elise Morris, Helen Steele, and Brenda Zappitell. Opening reception on Friday, May 4, from 6-9 p.m. May 3-June 30, free, SLATE contemporary, 473 25th St., Oakland, SlateArt.net.
Sofie Ramos and Phillip Maisel: An exhibition of site-specific installations by Sofie Ramos and Phillip Maisel. Through May 18, free, Pro Arts Gallery, 150 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, ProArtsGallery.org.
Syncopainted Pauses: New work by Paula Boas and Phyllis Lasche. Oakland Art Murmur First Friday reception, May 4, 6-9 p.m. Through May 26, free, GearBox Gallery, 770 West Grand Ave., Oakland, GearBoxGallery.com.
Tiny Splendor & Friends: An immersive show of prints, zines, murals, installation and more. The Tiny Splendor crew is sure to amaze with the sheer quantity and vibrancy of their collected creations. Opening reception on Friday, May 4, from 7-10 p.m., May 4-June 30, free, OaklandArtMurmur.org/Events/Tiny-Splendor-Friends, Classic Cars West, 411 26th St., Oakland, ClassicCarsWest.com.Museums
$5 First Friday at Chabot: Each $5 First Friday at Chabot is an exciting and immersive experience for all ages. Join us each month for hands-on activities and live demonstrations that are fun for the whole family. Each month there will be new things to explore. Some activities have limited capacity and are first come, first served. Pre-purchase your tickets First Friday of every month, $5, Chabot Space & Science Center, 10000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland, ChabotSpace.org.
RESPECT: Hip-Hop Style and Wisdom: Discover the under-recognized story of how hip-hop changed the world, starting with its roots on the street before rap, DJing, gaffiti, breakdancing, and street fashion launched into mainstream popular culture. Through Aug. 12, $4 plus museum admission. Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak St., Oakland, MuseumCA.org.
Take Root: Oakland Grows Food: Unearth Oakland's multi-layered world of food in this exhibition exploring the ecological and cultural factors of how and why food is grown in Oakland. Through Jan. 13, 2019, free with museum admission, Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak St., Oakland, MuseumCA.org.Attractions
Asian Cultural Center First Fridays: Oakland Asian Cultural Center hosts First Fridays, showcasing Asian and Pacific Islander art, cultural performance, informative workshops and exciting games every first Friday of the month. First Friday of every month, 6-8 p.m., free, Oakland Asian Cultural Center, 388 9th St., Ste. 290, Oakland, OACC.cc.
Oakland First Fridays: An immersive art and community experience with galleries, artist collectives, street artists, local culinary artisans, performers, musicians, dancers, DJ's, and poets gathering. First Friday of every month, 5-9 p.m., Telegraph Avenue from W. Grand Avenue to 27th Street, Oakland.
Saturday Stroll: A weekly component to Art Murmur, but with fewer festivities and more focus on the galleries. Visit OaklandArtMurmur.org for a full list of participating Oakland galleries. Saturdays, 1-5 p.m., free, Uptown District, 19th St. at Telegraph Ave., Oakland.Fairs, Festivals, & Fiestas
Friday Nights @ OMCA!: Jam to live music, get crafty at drop-in art workshops and join local foodies for a variety of demos and tastings. Gallery admission is half-price for adults and free for ages 18 and under. Fridays, 5-10 p.m., free, Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak St., Oakland, MuseumCA.org.Social Events
First Fridays at The New Parkway: Come enjoy the First Friday Art Walk at The New Parkway Theater. Happy hour specials: $10 for a pint and appetizer, 6-9 p.m. (with flyer). Artist showcase: All Around Oaktown, by Bayflix (reception from 6-7:45 p.m. in the Mezzanine). Karaoke in the Mezzanine, 8-11 p.m. Throwback Theater: Love Jones, 9:30 p.m. First Friday of every month, 6-11 p.m. Continues through Nov. 1, free, The New Parkway Theater, 474 24th St., Oakland, TheNewParkway.com.Culinary & Wine
First Fridays Community Potluck: Once a month ArtVale invites the community to come on out and break bread with one another. Bring friends, family, and food to share. Stay for a small drawing session. First Friday of every month, 6-9 p.m., free, ArtVale Gallery, 3463 Champion St., Oakland, ArtValeGallery.com.Live Variety
First Friday Follies: Burlesque performances, with MC JUICY D. Light and music by Elegant Trash. First Friday of every month, free, Stork Club, 2330 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, StorkClubOakland.com.
Hoodslam: Monthly underground wrestling event for the 21+ crowd First Friday of every month, 9 p.m., $20, Oakland Metro Operahouse, 522 2nd St., Oakland, OaklandMetro.org.