This week, we present a special edition of ArtRx NYC celebrating some of the countless cultural happenings organized around Halloween. From a procession of puppet ghouls to art talks in a 19th-century fort, there is something spooky for every soul.
Jazz and Paintings of the Dead
When: Wednesday, October 26, 2–3pm
Where: American Folk Art Museum (2 Lincoln Square, Upper West Side, Manhattan)
Alongside the American Folk Art Museum’s Securing the Shadow, the Bill Wurtzel Trio is staging weekly Wednesday concerts that respond to the exhibition’s theme of mortality. With paintings of the departed from the 19th century, daguerreotype photographs of the dead, and marble tombstones, the exhibition considers posthumous portraiture in the US in all its forms, particularly as a medium for preserving memory, no matter how brief the life. As a bonus, you can contribute your own ephemeral epitaph on a slate tombstone presented by artist Joyce Burstein.
Beat Nite Greenpoint
When: Friday, October 28, 6–9pm
Where: Greenpoint, Brooklyn
Looking for some respite from the dark and macabre? Hit the streets this Friday for Beat Nite Greenpoint — a collaboration between Norte Maar and Greenpoint Gallery Night. A total of 10 art spaces will be open late, including Clayspace, Calico, and Kayrock Screenprinting. Download the map and make your own stops, or hop on the Beat Nite Bus for a door-to door tour (tickets can be purchased here). The evening will end with an afterparty at the Brooklyn Bazaar, because you must celebrate our time together before you’re a posthumous portraiture candidate.
When: Friday, October 28, 8:30pm–12:30am
Where: Museum of Modern Art (11 West 53 Street, Midtown, Manhattan)
As part of its ongoing young audience-oriented PopRally programming, the Museum of Modern Art is hosting a ghastly gathering around a screening of the 1973 film The Exorcist. Trivia is planned, and costumes are encouraged, so get your blood-splattered nightgown or priest collar and crucifix ready for an evening of cinematic demonic possession.
Procession of the Ghouls
When: Friday, October 28, 7-9pm; 10–11:55pm
Where: The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine (1047 Amsterdam Avenue at 112th Street, Morningside Heights, Manhattan)
One of the best annual All Hallows’ Eve experiences is the march of the puppet ghouls from Ralph Lee’s Mettawee River Theater Company through the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. The Halloween Extravaganza has two sessions, one starting at 7pm and the other at 10pm, both preceded by a screening of the 1920 silent horror film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, with accompaniment from the Cathedral’s pipe organ. The puppet artist Ralph Lee also launched the Village Halloween Parade, so his phantasmic creations are worth the trip alone, and don’t miss his gargantuan spider creeping on the Rose Window.
Dark Arts in a 19th-Century Fort
When: Saturday, October 29, 8–10pm
Where: Fort Wadsworth (210 New York Avenue, Staten Island)
Bring a flashlight to witness this coven of speakers discussing the darker side of culture at Staten Island’s Fort Tompkins. Presented by the Alice Austen House with the Morbid Anatomy Museum, the evening features Harold Schechter on dark tourism at serial killer sites, Corinne May Botz on her photographs of miniature mid-century crime scene models, Pam Grossman on female magic in Western art, and Ronni Thomas on the tale of Carl von Cosel, the man who loved a corpse. Linger after for a cocktail party at the Alice Austen House, which should be phantasmagoric by the night light of the New York Harbor.
When: Sunday, October 30, 7pm; 8pm; 9pm; 10pm
Where: Woodlawn Cemetery (4199 Webster Avenue, The Bronx)
Woodlawn Cemetery is illuminating some of its 1,300 mausoleums that act as the final resting places of New York City’s most famous dead, from the Woolworths to the Strauses, and constructed by architects like McKim, Mead & White and John Russell Pope. The interior lights will cast a glow through the mausoleum stained glass, some of it designed by Tiffany & Co., and provide an atmospheric setting for tours on the cultural and social history of the burial ground.
Scarecrows: From the Heartland to Horror
When: Closes Sunday, October 30
Where: New York Botanical Garden (2900 Southern Boulevard, The Bronx)
Whether friendly companion to Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, or Batman comic book villain, the American scarecrow has taken on numerous cultural roles, aside from its intended use of frightening away pesky crows. Sculptor Ray Villafane created an installation of 30 scarecrows formed from natural materials at the New York Botanical Garden, each exploring some aspect of the scarecrow’s connection to the heartland or horror. Stop by on one of the kid-friendly Scarecrow Nights to see the outdoor exhibition come alive with performances and illuminations.
Macabre Greenwich Village
When: Sunday, October 30, 11am–12:30pm
Where: Historic Greenwich Village (Manhattan)
This spectral walking tour from the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation concentrates on the overlooked macabre history of the neighborhood. Using the built environment and its historic architecture as a guide, the walk will wind by the home of Edgar Allan Poe, a hangman’s house, the infamous Newgate prison, and a 19th-century graveyard.
Crypt Tales and Coffin Selfies
When: Monday, October 31, 7pm
Where: Merchant’s House Museum (29 East Fourth Street, Bowery, Manhattan)
The 1832 Merchant’s House Museum proudly claims its title as “Manhattan’s most haunted house,” and this month it’s hosting a series of “spirited” events. On view you can find a mourning dress from the Tredwell family that once inhabited the Bowery home, as well as a 19th-century coffin in which you’re welcome to create your own “postmortem” photograph, if you dare. It all culminates on Halloween itself, when there will be dramatic readings from Gothic literature and ghostly tales in the front parlor, decked out in black crepe and presided over by the casket of Seabury Tredwell.
Last Chance: PsychoBarn
When: Closes Monday, October 31
Where : Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 Fifth Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan)
Cornelia Parker’s dual tribute to Alfred Hitchcock and Edward Hopper fittingly ends its haunting of the Metropolitan Museum of Art rooftop on Halloween. The Transitional Object (PsychoBarn) house, built from salvaged barn wood, is a two-thirds scale reconstruction of the Bates home from the 1960 film Psycho. At the same time, it hints at the eerie emptiness of Edward Hopper’s paintings of old American homes, like his 1925 canvas “House by the Railroad” at MoMA, also worth a Halloween visit.
Memories So Fair and Bright
Kimetha Vanderveen’s paintings are about the interaction of materiality and light, the bond between the palpable and ephemeral world in which we live.
Artists Contemplate Sovereignty in Santa Fe
The Santa Fe Art Institute’s 2024 International Thematic Residency focuses on what sovereignty means for artists from across the world.
When I Am Empty Please Dispose of Me Properly
Ayanna Dozier, Ilana Harris-Babou, Meena Hasan, Lucia Hierro, Catherine Opie, Chuck Ramirez, and Pacifico Silano explore the myths of the American Dream at Brooklyn’s BRIC House.
How Did Early Modern European Craftspeople Pass On Their Knowledge?
A new book about object making critically examines a written history of working with materials.
Dual Portrait of Old Master Rachel Ruysch Holds a Trove of Secrets
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has just acquired the rare painting, which depicts the Dutch artist at work surrounded by her signature flora.
Pratt’s 2023 Fine Arts MFA Thesis Exhibition Is On View in Brooklyn
The two-part exhibition features the work of 41 graduating artists across disciplines, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, and integrated practices.
Did Van Gogh’s Disdain for the Eiffel Tower Inspire “Starry Night”?
Art historian James Hall argues that van Gogh replaced the Eiffel Tower with a towering cypress tree and its inaugural light shows with the night sky.
Greek Museum Welcomes Dogs For World Stray Animal Day
Furry friends and their pawrents can visit Athens’s National Museum of Contemporary Art for free this weekend.
The Milton Resnick and Pat Passlof Foundation Presents The Feminine in Abstract Painting
Curated by Jennifer Samet and Andrea Belag, this group exhibition in NYC explores the feminine through aesthetics, as opposed to identity or gender.
Ai Weiwei Recreates Monet’s “Water Lilies” Using 650,000 LEGOS
It’s the artist’s largest LEGO artwork to date.
Did a Simpsons Episode Predict the Florida “David” Outrage?
The episode, which aired 30 years ago, made a dark prediction about conservative politics in 2023.
NYU Steinhardt Opens 2023 MFA Thesis Exhibitions
Taking place at 80WSE Gallery in New York’s Greenwich Village, Part I is on view from late March through April while Part II opens in May.
Coasting the Topography of South Asian Futurisms
As part of Hyperallergic’s Emily Hall Tremaine Journalism Fellowship for Curators, Sadaf Padder presents an exhibition to offer insight into her curatorial process.
I’m a Florida Drag Queen and I’m Scared
I’m truly at a loss for what to do for work and what kind of life I can expect to live.