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Day and Night, woodcut by M.C. Escher
Credit: Courtesy of The M.C. Escher Company

M.C. Escher's mind-bending work is on display in a renovated industrial space in New York’s coolest borough.

Darwing Hands, by M.C. Escher
Credit: Courtesy of The M.C. Escher Company

Travel was a major influence on the trippy, through-the-looking-glass art of Maurits Cornelis Escher. In his twenties, the Dutch artist made the first of many journeys through Southern Europe. He would later translate the intricately patterned Moorish tiles he saw on the walls of the Alhambra in Spain into the interlocking birds, reptiles, and human faces that recur in his designs. The spiraling, warren-like hill towns and bell towers of the Italian countryside became the Mobius strips of arches, bridges, and stairways that would come to adorn many a math major’s dorm room walls in poster form.

M. C. Escher never found a place in the art world during his lifetime, which spanned the first seven decades of the 20th century. So it’s fitting that Escher: The Exhibition and Experience, the largest presentation of his works to appear in this country, isn’t being hosted by a Manhattan museum but at Industry City, an interconnected complex of factories on the outskirts of Brooklyn. In addition to more than 200 original works, the just-opened show includes photos booths that attempt to create Escher’s dizzying perspectives and other interactive displays.

Regular Division of the Plane I and Rind, by M.C. Escher
Credit: Courtesy of The M.C. Escher Company

Once your brain has been suitably turned inside-out, spend some time exploring the rest of Industry City’s shops and food stalls. Avocaderia has a full menu of trendy toasts, One Girl Cookies makes an outstanding whoopee pie, and the IC store by WantedDesign features objects made by some of the artists and designs who rent out work spaces in the floors above.