Whitney Halloween Party: Costumes Inspired By Artists & Artworks!
Nov 18, 2013

A pumpkin with a Whitney logo on it

One of many glowing pumpkins at the Whitney Halloween party, October 2013. Photograph by Ai Wee Seow

Halloween was some weeks back but there is still much chatter among Education staff about the costumes we wore and saw at the Whitney’s Halloween Party on October 31, 2013. The party celebrated the opening of the exhibition, Rituals of Rented Island: Object Theater, Loft Performance, and the New Psychodrama—Manhattan, 1970–1980. Jay Sanders, curator of the exhibition and the Whitney’s Curator of Performance said that performance artists often premiered their works on Halloween, so he thought there was no better way to celebrate the opening of this exhibition than to invite guests to view the works dressed in costumes.

Not surprisingly, there were more guests at this party dressed as artists (dead or alive) and artworks than as superheroes or scary creatures. Check out the slideshow below and see if you can name the artist or the artwork—without looking at the captions!

  • Museum staff posing in costume

    Ai Wee Seow, Coordinator of School and Educator Programs, dressed as artist Yayoi Kusama was thrilled to meet some guests in the galleries dressed as characters in Diane Arbus’s photograph (Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park, NYC (1962), Identical Twins, Roselle, NJ (1967), and A Young Man in Curlers at Home on West 20th Street, NYC (1966)), October 2013. Photograph by Cheri Ehrlich

  • A party goer with a painted face

    A guest painted her face to look like a Roy Lichtenstein painting, October 2013. Photograph by Cheri Ehrlich

  • Two guests in costume

    Hannie Chia, Coordinator of Youth Programs, who dressed as Little Red Riding Hood was hanging out with a real Whitney artist, Julia Heyward, who was dressed as a Whitney guard, October 2013. Photograph by Adam Tang

  • Two museum staff members dressed in costumer

    Inspired by the Whitney's new graphic identity launched in May 2013, Education staff members Meredith Martin and Jamie Rosenfeld transformed themselves into the “Responsive ‘W’” duo.

  • Museum staff in costume

    Gene McHugh, Interpretation Fellow, looks dashing as artist Edward Hopper. Standing beside him was Danielle Linzer, Manager of Community and Access Programs, dressed as a clown in Edward Hopper’s painting, Soir Bleu (1914), October 2013. Photograph by Ai Wee Seow

  • A party scene with staff in costume

    Museum educator Lisa Libicki, dressed as a Barnett Newman zip painting, joined Education staff at the bar in the Lower Lobby.

  • Two staff members posing in costume

    Ai Wee Seow, Coordinator of School and Educator Programs (aka artist Yayoi Kusama) and her guest Cheri Ehrlich dressed as artist Judy Chicago. Photograph by Danielle Linzer

Other artwork costumes seen roaming about the Museum included Robert Indiana’s EAT/DIE (1962) and part of Mike Kelly’s More Love Hours Than Can Ever Be Repaid and The Wages of Sin (1987). A woman dressed as Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with Pearl Earring (1665) held a sign explaining that she snuck out of the Frick Collection (where the painting is currently on view) to come to this party at the Whitney.

As the Halloween party wound down around 11 pm, it was amusing to watch “artists” and especially “artworks” streaming out of the entrance onto the street, as if to avoid being locked up and held captive at the Museum!  

By Ai Wee Seow, Coordinator of School and Educator Programs.