Marina Abramović's Halloween ball
Art world glitteratti turn out for party in Greenwich Village Jamaican bar Miss Lily's
Halloween in New York can mean many things to many different people. For some, it is strictly candy, for others, an excuse to forfeit all inhibitions and act in the cloaked anonymity of the masked masses. And for the chosen select few, it is an opportunity to see art world luminaries dress up in something other than the ubiquitous black.
The latter was the case as Marina Abramović and arts website Paddle8 invited friends to the private space above restaurateur Serge Becker’s newest watering hole, Miss Lily’s for a private Halloween party and “drinks around the cauldron.” The fete was hosted in celebration of the Abramović-curated exhibition Immaterial, now on view at Paddle8.com. Lit by jack-o-lanterns and the glow of projections from Abramović’s exhibition, the lady herself poured rum punch from a bubbling cauldron as a cast of characters that defied the constraints of time, mortality and fiction conversed around her.
Kim Jong Il and a formally dressed Native American (Paddle8 co-founders Alexander Gilkes and Aditya Julka, respectively) chatted up a Stormtrooper (Zak Williams of NYC gallery Mallick Williams) while a silver-headed sailor (MoMA PS1 Director Klaus Biesenbach) spoke to a grassy swamp creature (Art International Radio Director Alanna Heiss) and John Lennon and Yoko Ono (artist Paul Jacobsen and curator Andrea Hill) staged a bed-in close to the similarly all-white clad artist Terence Koh (costume? Not a costume?). For those not brave enough to attempt an outfit competition with some of the most creative minds at work today, Abramović generously handed out robust black moustaches. Later in the evening, two of them migrated upwards to become the famous knitted brow of Andrea Hill’s Yoko Ono.
But what of the guest of honour? Never one to follow suit, so to speak, Abramović donned the robes she wore to receive her honorary doctorate from Williams College topped with a decidedly unacademic Yohji Yamamoto hat. For one night only, Ms. Abramović appeared to step back from her role as a performer. For those lucky enough to be there when the artist was present, it was a treat indeed.