KDHamptons Party Diary: The 22nd Annual Watermill Center Summer Benefit & Auction
On Saturday, July 25, The Byrd Hoffman Water Mill Foundation hosted Circus of Stillness…the power over wild beasts,the 22nd Annual Summer Benefit & Auction at The Watermill Center, raising over $1.9 million to support The Center’s year-round Residency Program, International Summer Program, and educational initiatives that provide artists with a unique opportunity to develop their work. Artistic Director Robert Wilson hosted the evening.
Over 1,200 distinguished guests from the worlds of art, performance, theater, fashion, design, and society came together for the visually stunning event which honored Inga Maren Otto, international philanthropist and long-time supporter of The Watermill Center. The evening featured rousing performances by Sierra “Rosie” Casady of CocoRosie, a collaborative installation by forthcoming resident artists Cirkus Cirkör, a could sculpture by celebrated artist Daniel Arsham, and over two dozen site-specific installations by artists participating in the 2015 International Summer Program featured alongside the works of renowned visual artists, Cleon Peterson, Basco Vazko, Gary Garay, and Radamés ‘Juni’ Figueroa, among others. Additional highlights included the silent and live auctions hosted by veteran auctioneer Simon de Pury which featured over 125 lots donated by world-renowned and emerging artists, such as: Marina Abramović, Uta Barth, Annie Leibovitz, María Magdalena Campos-Pons, and Ursula von Rydingsvard.
Among the guests at Saturday night’s event were: artist, Daniel Arsham; writer, Bob Colacello; producer, arts patron, Christophe de Menil; philanthropist, Diana DiMenna; Bill T. Jones and Bjorn G. Amelan of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company; designer, fashion pioneer, Fern Mallis; designer, Nicole Miller; actress, Brooke Shields; Public School designers Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne; curator, Anastasiya Siro; philanthropist, Barbara Slifka; performer, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot; designer, John Varvatos; singer/songwriter, Rufus Wainwright; and musician, Roger Waters.
Guests entered the event through a narrow canopy of bamboo trees and were immediately greeted by Los Angeles based artist Cleon Peterson’s highly graphic red wooden figures which stood over 10 feet tall and loomed large at the event’s entrance and exit. Throughout cocktail hour, guests toured the over 8.5 acres of grounds to experience more than 20 additional site-specific installations and performances interspersed amongst outdoor sculptures and artifacts, including two newly constructed murals—92 ft and 64 ft in size–by acclaimed Chilean graffiti artist Basco Vazko. Sierra “Rosie” Casady, half of the musical duo CocoRosie, performed a rousing set with her band, including new songs from the forthcoming album HeartacheCity. Keeping with the collaborative spirit of The Center, Sierra was joined on stage by artists participating in the International Summer Program who danced and recited poetry. Guests also experienced a musical intervention by sonic noise group Barrsheadalh—featuring guitarist Brandon Seabrook, bassist Tim Dahl, and drummer Kevin Shea.
Additional installation highlights included artist Gary Garay’s dramatic transformation of The Watermill Center’s western façade with over 1,000 images pasted along the building’s exterior, and celebrated Puerto Rican artist, Radamés “Juni” Figueroa’s series of self-portraits on canvas which were draped over sleeping performers in the woods.
Dinner hour featured breathtaking collaborative installations by members of contemporary circus ensemble, Cirkus Cirkör including selections from Knitting Peace—a work that was performed at the Nobel Prize Ceremony in Oslo in 2012. Members of the ensemble were outfitted in jewelry by Plukka for the evening. The live auction was conducted by veteran auctioneer Simon de Pury, and together with the silent auction—both powered by Artsy–featured over 125 works donated by established and emerging artists including: Tania Bruguera, Arthur Carter, Tseng Kwong Chi, Antony Gormley, María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Marina Abramović, Uta Barth, Annie Leibovitz, and Ursula von Rydingsvard. After dinner, guests enjoyed dessert and dancing to music spun by DJ Flaxo in the silent auction tent.
· Tania Brugera, Tatlin’s Whisper #6 (Havana Version), 2009, video
· Cuba! – a 5-6 day tour of Havana originated as one lot, but sold as two separate lots
· Robert Wilson’s own Bessie Smith Breakfast Chair—a wood with white lacquer piece originally designed for: Cosmopolitan Greetings (1988)
Sponsors and supporters of the 22nd Annual Summer Benefit & Auction included: Lead Sponsor Plukka, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC, and Theory. For more information about The Watermill Center, please visit www.watermillcenter.org