“Inferno,” the 16th Annual Watermill Summer Benefit, raised a total of $1.4 million for the Center’s year-round international artist residencies and education programs.
A major contribution to the evening was the silent and live auctions of artworks donated by the international artists’ community. Highlights included a Douglas Gordon portrait of Ingrid Bergman presented by Ingrid Bergman’s daughter Isabella Rossellini and Robert Wilson’s VOOM Portrait of the Black Panther. Peter Lindbergh’s commissioned portrait went for twice the expected value. A great success was the artist-in-residence auction item – guests had the opportunity to sponsor young emerging artist residencies at Watermill.
Other Auction items included works by Andy Warhol, Terence Koh, Elizabeth Payton, Robert Mapplethorpe, Neo Rauch, William Kentridge.
Artists-in-residence such as Sue de Beer, Riverbed Theater, Sophia Jones and En-Tzu Chang entertained the more than 1000 cocktail guests with installations and performances. Guests entered through Shige Moriya’s tunnel like installation the “Cathedral-within”. Shige is also the recipient of the Armani Design Award this year. Highlights included Sue de Beer’s “Ring of Trees, which projected light through 360 degree cylinder in the Knee Building. Yochai Matos created a 26-foot high light installation “The Flame” formed with fluorescent lights in the Watermill woods, Sophia Jones created a giant spider with over 10 puppeteers, children from the community, walking along the West terrace.
Young performance artist and upcoming Fall Watermill resident Stephen Vega performed throughout the silent auction tent, while Taiwanese Riverbed Theater staged various installations and performances throughout the platforms and woods. Aerial dancer C. Ryder Cooley dazzled the nearly 600 dinner guests as they entered the tent, decorated by Watermill participants, as projections flitted across the tent walls. Martha Wainwright delivered a show stopping surprise performance of “Stormy Weather” during the live auction. “A touch of Class” dj’ed in the Auction tent after dinner.
Photography: Barry Gordin