NEW KDHamptons Art Diary: Scenes From The 20th Annual Watermill Center Summer Benefit,“DEVIL'S HEAVEN”





The 20th Annual Watermill Center Summer Benefit,“DEVIL’S HEAVEN,” raised $1,850,000 for the Center’s year-round artist residency and education programs. Over 20 site specific provocative installations and performances were presented on the grounds during the event by such artists as: Dilek Acay, Jörg Brinkmann, Hope Esser, Anna Graenzer, Christopher Knowles, Carl Lawrence, Lisa Lozano, Trina Merry, John Messinger, Vera Martynova, Mattew Prest, Evangelina Rantou, Zacharry Schoenhut, Ioannis Sidiropoulos, Han Sung Ah, Manu Washaus, and Yao Zhang.





The Watermill Center describes itself as “a laboratory for performance founded by Robert Wilson as a unique environment for young and emerging artists from around the world to explore new ideas. Watermill draws inspiration from all the arts and cultures as well as from social, human and natural sciences.”



KDH witnessed varying opinions on some of the performances. Some walked away from the event in amazement, sharing that “these were the best performances in years, others questioned, “Is this really art?” Personally, I think that the Watermill Center and Robert Wilson like to challenge that question, and the result is always an undeniably, unforgettable experience, set against one of the most magical lush backdrops in the Hamptons.





Robert Wilson with dinner host Lady Gaga (photo by bfanyc)



Guests for cocktails (over 1,200) were greeted by an installation of naked performers covered in body paint created by summer program participant, Trina Merry. The installation was titled Magnolias and was generously supported by NET-A-PORTER.  On the north platform, summer program participant Evangelia Rantou performed in a work titled Solo With Chairs From Medea (2) directed by Dimitris Papaioannou.



All of these works were produced by over 100 artists and participants from over 2 dozen nations on site in the weeks leading up to the benefit and some will be on view again for the community on Sunday, August 11 from 3-6 pm for Watermill’s annual Discover Watermill day which is free and open to the public.





Jean Shafiroff and friend



Debbie Bancroft navigates the cobblestone past a hanging performer



Designer Jill Stuart jumps on board one of the installations



During dinner, hosted by master of ceremonies Alan Cumming, Robert Wilson, Lady Gaga, Winona Ryder and Marina Abramović all spoke about Watermill and the artists work presented for the event.











Highlights of the live auction included Lady Gaga winning Marina Abramović and Dieter Meier’s pieces.  Winona Ryder spoke about her experience working with Robert Wilson on her video portrait which led to Diane von Fürstenberg (not in attendance), Maren Otto, and Martin Brand each winning commissioned video portraits by Robert Wilson.  Other highlights included a work by Luc Tuymans, a photograph by Tseng Kwong Chi of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol, and a rocking chair designed by Robert Wilson for his production of Zinnias based on the life of Clementine Hunter.



Winona Ryder





Artist Jeffrey Muhs and Dr. Mark Kot



Highlights of this year’s silent auction included: two works by Shirin Neshat that sold at  premium. Other highlights included a light installation by GT Pellizzi and works by Maya Kramer, Maya Ando, Bruce High Quality Foundation, Christophe de Menil, Alex Prager, Cindy Sherman, Slava Mougtin, Jorinde Voigt, Tim Eitel, Ruud Van Empel, Ugo Rondinone, Ed Ruscha, Will Ryman, Andrew Sendor, Hadieh Shafie, Jin Shan, Max Snow, Erwin Olaf, Kembra Pfahler and Lawrence Weiner.







Dr. Elliot Weiss and wife (and KDHamptons contributor) Lauren



Close to 700 guests arrived in the dinner tent to decorations inspired by the paintings of Clementine Hunter created by Vera Martynova. This year the Master of Ceremonies was Alan Cumming.   Nick Cohen DJ’ed in the Auction Tent after dinner, where guests also mingled at the 20 foot bar, compliments of Bacardi USA.



Guests at the event included: Robert Wilson, Lady Gaga, Winona Ryder, Marina Abramović, Alan Cumming, Simon de Pury, Hugh Jackman, Cindy Sherman, Bob Colacello, Kyle DeWoody, Eugenio Lopez, Maja Hoffmann, Giancarla Berti, Lewis Cullman & Louise Hirschfeld Cullman, Maria Bacardi, Alexander Gilkes & Misha Nonoo, Todd Bishop,  Gabriela Cadena, Selita Ebanks, Gerard Barrett, Lindsey Wixson, Joachim Johnson, Genevieve Jones, Tatiana Platt, Richard Johnson, Richard Phillips, Fabiola Beracasa, Sonja Bebber & Martin Brand, Greg Soros, Alexander Soros, Amanda Hearst, Henry Buhl, Harry Brant, Josephine Meckseper, Nicholas Coblence, Farhad Farman-Farmaian, Jill Stuart, Jim Signorelli, Stefano Tonchi, Debbie Bancroft, Rick Owens, Sharon Bush, Bill Cunningham, Polina Proshkina, Jane Holzer, Fredric Brandt, Aaron Young, Laure Heriard Dubreuil, Kenny Sharf, Anh Duong, Marc Francois Auboire, Eddie Borgo, Keegan Singh, Colby Jordan, Lisa Marie Fernandez, Hannah Bronfman, Annelise Peterson, Alison Loehnis, Stacy Engman, Rick Owens, Michele Lamy.



By chance, KDH headed into the enchanted forest alongside Robert Wilson. It was neat to see his reactions to the performances.




Watermill is a global community of artists. Living and working together among the extensive collection of art and artifacts lies at the heart of the Watermill experience. Watermill is a haven for the next generations of artists, supporting their work among a network of international institutions and venues that embrace new interdisciplinary approaches.



**All photos in this feature by Kelli Delaney Kot for KDHamptons, except Lady Gaga & Winona Ryder images by BFANYC