Mod Women (and Men): NMWA’s Late Night Costume Party

The National Museum of Women in the Arts experienced a blast from the past on October 30 for NMWA Late Nights: Mod Women (and Men). Costumes, dancing, cocktails, and tours accompanied the after-hours party for NMWA’s exhibition opening of Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft, and Design, Midcentury and Today. The exhibition, organized by the Museum of Arts and Design, highlights women’s contributions to modern design and the way their aesthetic has influenced contemporary art.

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Left: NMWA’s Great Hall, Right: Vintage Vagabond pop-up in the Museum Shop; Jack Hartzman Photography

The museum’s Great Hall was filled with 300 guests decked out in their finest mod-inspired outfits, highlighting the exhibition’s midcentury theme. As guests arrived they were welcomed by the Vintage Vagabond pop-up shop in the Museum Shop. The first of its kind at NMWA, the pop-up shop enabled attendees to peruse a selection of vintage apparel including gloves, dresses, and kitten heels. Guests also received prop cat-eye and wayfarer glasses that were perfect for the photo booth.

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Visitors examine Dorothy Liebes’s work in Pathmakers; Jack Hartzman Photography

Visitors explored the exhibition through staff-led spotlight tours. They enjoyed the eye-catching, industrial bench by Vivian Beer and marveled at a metallic textile work by Marianne Strengell.

Examining the intersections between art and mass production, visitors were intrigued by Eva Zeisel’s timeless ceramics—coveted for decades everywhere from posh antique shops to Crate and Barrel.

Between tours exploring the more than 80 works in Pathmakers, the multigenerational audience was entertained by songs ranging from swing music to ’90s pop. Guests mingled while resting on sleek lounge furniture worthy of the Mad Men set and enjoyed signature “Mod Martinis” with Green Hat Gin, “Mad Mai Tais” with Plantation Rum, and a fully stocked fondue bar and pigs in a blanket supplied by Well Dunn Catering.

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Mod Women (and Men) attendees; Jack Hartzman Photography

The night’s enthusiastic attendees helped celebrate the opening of Pathmakers in style. Throughout the event, NMWA staff scoped out the best costumes and awarded a prize to the winner—though it was hard to choose! Costumes featured attire inspired by the 1950s, psychedelic hippies, and the iconic Jackie O.

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Attendees with cat-eye glasses (right) and dancing (left); Jack Hartzman Photography

Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft, and Design, Midcentury and Today is on view through February 28, 2016. Stay tuned for news about the next event, explore #ModsterMash and #NMWAnights for more posts, see more pictures on Pinterest, and check out the museum’s calendar for upcoming listings.

—Bria Burditt is the development events intern at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Food, Drink, and Fun: After Hours at NMWA!

Last Thursday, the museum held NMWA Nights: Earthly Delights, an after-hours event featuring two new exhibitions, Super Natural and Organic Matters—Women to Watch 2015. Hosted together with members of the Young pARTners Circle, NMWA Nights provided staff-led tours of the exhibitions for over 100 attendees.

Attendees explore exhibition artworks, including Organic Matters artist Dawn Holder's Monoculture; Photo credit: Laura Hoffman

Attendees explore exhibition artworks, including Organic Matters artist Dawn Holder’s Monoculture; Photograph: Laura Hoffman

Super Natural features women artists who do not simply document nature but treat the natural world as a space for discovery and invention. Historical and contemporary depictions of plants, animals, and natural landscapes are juxtaposed to show the diverse ways that nature has inspired women artists.

Organic Matters is a part of a series presented every two to three years in which the museum’s national and international committees nominate up-and-coming women artists from their region to exhibit at NMWA. This year’s 13 selected artists work with the subject of nature in mediums ranging from photography to fiberglass.

Guests contribute paper flowers to a collaborative floor installation

Flowers in a collaborative installation; Photograph: Laura Hoffman

Between tours, guests met on the Mezzanine to sip on the specialty cocktail, cleverly named “Metamorphosis.” Participants sampled an array of tasty snacks—provided by Dirty South Deli in collaboration with Union Kitchen—all while listening to tunes by DJ Flying Fortress.

In the Great Hall, attendees explored their crafty side by pushing the boundaries of paper. Guests sculpted flowers and contributed them to a collaborative art project.

The floor installation featuring everyone’s paper flora and fauna was inspired by Organic Matters artist Rebecca Hutchinson’s Patterns of Nature.

Many added to a projected photo collage by instagramming their artwork and photo booth fun with the hashtag #NMWAnights.

Everyone who instagrammed—anything from floral photos to face-in-the-hole shots of collection artwork—was entered into a photo contest to win delightful prizes. Check out @womeninthearts on Instagram to see what people captured!

To stay informed about future NMWA Nights, networking events, and other fun and enriching opportunities, please visit the online calendar or join the Young pARTners Circle.

—Bridget Mazet is the development intern at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.