See the Art World Dress Up at Marina Abramovic's Spooky Halloween Party

NEW YORK— The constant downpour of rain and snow that blanketed New York in an icy slush on Saturday could not stop people from heading to Houston Street to join performance artist Marina Abramovi? for a few "drinks by the cauldron," as her invitation promised. The event was to celebrate the launch of "Immaterial," the exhibition she curated for online market (it was the first exhibition she ever curated, in fact), and people were understandably curious.


The intimate Halloween gathering, located at restaurateur Serge Becker's space above his new Jamaican eatery, Miss Lily's, consisted mostly of Abramovi? and Paddle8's close friends, most of whom were appropriately dressed up in Halloween garb. Guests sipped on Krug champagne and rum punch from, yes, a cauldron, while noshing on bites from Miss Lily's. Images from "Immaterial" were projected on a wall, while copies of the Phaidon-published exhibition catalogue were scattered about for browsing.


So, what does the art world dress up as for Halloween? co-founders Alexander Gilkes and Aditya Julka went the multicultural route, with Gilkes going as Kim Jong Il (a sometimes pregnant Kim Jong Il, actually, depending on the time of the night), while Julka dressed as a Native American complete with a full feathered headdress (considering his ethnic background is Indian, as in from India, there was a joke involved).

Curator Andrea Hill, meanwhile, dressed as Yoko Ono, carrying a sign that read "Hair Peace."MoMA PS1 founder Alanna Heiss wore a Swamp Thing-like suit, while gallerist (and the co-curator of's last exhibition, "Taking Sides") Zak Williams donned a "Star Wars" Stormtrooper uniform. Terence Koh, one of the artists Abramovi? selected for "Immaterial," arrived in his everyday costume of all white. Boo!

Abramovi? got all "doctored up," as she put it, in the gown she wore when she received her honorary doctorate from Williams College and a Yohji Yamamoto hat. She confessed that — just like most of us — she waited until last minute to figure out her costume. "I actually never have a costume for Halloween, because I've performed all my life," Abramovi? told ARTINFO. "So when it's Halloween, I like to see people performing, and I'm just the public. So this time I'm in panic, I opened up my cupboard and this is what I found." It was a night of firsts for the artist, it seems.

Turns out Abramovi? wasn't the only one who figured out her costume last minute. MoMA PS1 director Klaus Biesenbach originally wanted to buy a sporty costume from Paragon, but his plans were thwarted when his train from upstate arrived two hours behind schedule, after the store had closed. His Plan B? Halloween superstore Ricky's! "I have a short attention span, so I bought a sailor, I bought a gray overall, and I bought the Situation from "Jersey Shore," Biesenbach told ARTINFO. "I texted everybody. Everybody said Situation, but I didn't fit in. Then I had my gray overalls there, and I couldn't decide, and I asked Marina and Terence, and they said sailor, so they made the decision." Biesenbach — who would have made a great Situation — completed the sailor look by painting his whole head silver.

We asked Abramovi?, who recently presented Ai Weiwei with an "innovator of the year" award, why she decided to work with "They are really young, they are inventive, and they are creative, and I think this is the future," she said. And her purpose behind "Immaterial?" "I want to know how we can actually educate the collectors to buy ideas and not just objects, and that's a big kind of thing to do," said Abramovi?. That's not a far stretch from what Abramovi?'s friend, James Franco, did early earlier this year when he sold an invisible artwork for $10,000.