“Michael Jackson and Bubbles” (1988), Jeff Koons’s gilded monument to kitsch, sits on a pedastal in the Whitney while Vice reporters sneak into the abandoned Neverland Ranch to document what horrors remain. At this point, the King of Pop’s legacy is rooted more in macabre folklore than music, and the “Thriller” video has nothing to do with it. In fact, people—apparently a lot of people—are still having MJ encounters five years after his death. At Michael Jackson Betwixt/Between, a posthumous birthday party for the pop icon sponsored by Hendrick’s Gin, photographer Shannon Taggart presents an illustrated lecture on “the curious afterlife” of Jackson and his ambiguous dead/alive status as a “contemporary mythological figure,” based on her work with a number of spiritualist mediums who have reported encounters with him. Stick around for a lively affair with drinks, music videos, and karaoke.

Fri., Aug. 29, 8 p.m., 2014