The 25th Annual Watermill Center Summer Benefit and Auction honoring Pierre Berge.
July 28, 20018: The Annual Watermill Center Summer Benefit, described as an “enchanted forest” and “performance art extravaganza,” is one of the summer’s most anticipated events of the summer. The celebration on the 10 plus acre grounds of The Watermill Center, founded by avant-garde visionary Robert Wilson in 1992, unites the worlds of art, performance, music, theatre, design, architecture and fashion into an immersive experience that simply must be witnessed. Each year Wilson tops himself from the previous year with extraordinary, mind-boggling installations throughout the grounds.
Photography: Barry Gordin
TIME BOMB: The 25th Annual Watermill Center Summer Benefit & Auction honored Pierre Bergé, the late co-founder of Yves Saint Laurent, who was a close friend of Robert Wilson, and also a founding benefactor of The Watermill Center. Berge was recognized as a key figure in shaping French culture and politics.
TIME BOMB has a central theme this year, “looking to the future,” and featured installations and performances conceived and produced by participants in the International Summer Program, which provides young and emerging artists with the unique opportunity to observe the performance methodologies of Robert Wilson and his collaborators. The process allows them to forge relationships with artists from a broad range of experience levels and disciplines and to develop networks of US and international professional contacts while investigating what it means to be a “global artist.”
Over 1,000 guests come to the Watermill Center to experience a world conceived by Founder and Artistic Director Robert Wilson along with more than 100 international artists representing a wide range of artistic disciplines. The evening doubles as a retrospective of Watermill’s vibrant past remounting a selection of work by alumni of The Center’s programs from the past quarter-century.
This year, the Watermill Center’s Summer Program brings together over 70 artists from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China,the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Indonesia, Italy, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Lithuania, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States of America.
Curated by Noah Khoshbin and Ivan Cheng, highlight guest artists performing and showing work at the Annual Summer Benefit included:
● Oliver Beer (United Kingdom), creates performances in which spectators take part by the mere fact of their presence, as well as sculpture and video that highlight this subtle relationship. [Watermill alumni]
● Laurie Anderson, Jenny Holzer, Carrie Mae Weems, Wangechi Mutu… (International) present Word on the Street , an ongoing text based public art initiative consisting of original political and poetic banners created by renowned female artists and writers in collaboration with female refugee fabricators based in Texas
•Bianca Casady (France, by way of Hawaii) along with her sister Sierra formed CocoRosie in 2003, a band whose music is described as “New Weird America” and incorporates elements of pop, blues, opera, electronica, and hip hop. They are frequent collaborators of Robert Wilson. [Watermill alumni]
● Dawn Kasper (U.S.A.), is an interdisciplinary artist (performance, installation, sculpture, drawing, photography, video, sound), whose improvisational work – using costume, comedy, gesture, repetition, music, and monologue, creates what she refers to as “living sculptures” and often derives from a “fascination with existentialism, subjects of vulnerability, desire, and the construction of meaning.”
● NoodleRice (China and U.S.A.) is a young internationally recognized artist collective founded by Yao Zhang in collaboration with Liang Guo, both born and raised in west China and now are traveling and working between United States and China. NoodleRice was first formed as a film collective and now works with both cinema and live performance, plus the realm in-between. [Watermill alumni]
● OSGEMEOS (Brazil), identical twin brothers whose graffiti became influential in developing Brazil’s style beginning in the late ‘80s will mount a large scale mirrored mural work. [Watermill alumni]
● Reynolds Reynolds (U.S.A., based in Berlin), an award-winning filmmaker influenced early by philosophy and science and working primarily with 16mm as an art medium; his depiction of people often makes us aware of the small frames we use to understand reality.
● Georgia Sagri (Greece and U.S.A.), a performance and mixed media artist whose work is primarily influenced by her ongoing engagement in political movements and struggles; and by issues of autonomy, empowerment and self-organization. She is the founder of the audio-only magazine FORTÉ, and SALOON, an ongoing curatorial project.
● Tassy Thompson (Norway), an artist and designer who is now an award-winning natural playground designer; currently writing on ‘playful environments’ for the Venice Biennale for a book for Routledge. [Watermill alumni]
The Watermill Center is an interdisciplinary laboratory for the arts supporting young and emerging artists through its year-round Artist Residency Program and International Summer Program, as well as Education Programs, exhibitions and events open to the public. The Watermill Center offers tours throughout the year of its 20,000+ square-foot building, which houses a library and a significant collection of global art and artifacts, both contemporary and ancient, and 10+ acre campus. For more information, please visit www.watermillcenter.org .
All Benefit proceeds will support The Watermill Center’s year-round Artist Residency and Education Programs.