On Saturday July 30, Robert Wilson and The Watermill Center celebrated it’s 23rd Annual Summer Benefit & Auction, to support the Center’s year-round Artist Residency and Education Programs. Entitled FADA: HOUSE OF MADNESS, this year’s event featured new installations and performances by Watermill’s International Summer Program participants throughout its eight-and-a-half acre grounds, and honored Madame Giancarla Berti in recognition of her extraordinary support and raised over $2 million.
The 23rd Annual Watermill Center Benefit & Auction. Photo Credit: Ryan Kobane.
“Tonight marks the largest attendance we’ve had in 23 years,” declared Robert Wilson as he welcomed guests seated for dinner. “This year we have 130 artist participants representing over 28 nations. Can you believe it!” As guests entered single-file through the bamboo entrance they encountered, Jacques Reynaud’s Angels of Apocalypse accompanied by sound installations adapted from recent recordings by Oscar nominee singer/songwriter, ANOHNI (aka Anthony Hegarty).
For the benefit, The Watermill Center collaborated for the first time with artist collective Bruce High Quality Foundation, to present As We Lay Dying – a variety of works and performances interspersed throughout The Center’s grounds that are a reflection on coming to terms with the contemporary world through personal, political and aesthetic perspectives.
In making their way through the woods guests sipped Maestro Dobel’s Black Diamond Margarita – the evening’s signature cocktail. Highlights included the Russian feminist punk rock protest group Pussy Riot‘s Make America Great Again, a reactionary installation piece inspired by Donald Trump’s campaign slogan while guests marveled at John Margarita’s One ton tank – a poured concrete vessel filled with water and a young man wearing a black speedo held down by weights.
The 23rd Annual Watermill Center Benefit & Auction. Photo Credit: Zach Hilty.
Plukka, the international fine jewelry retailer, supported The Watermill Center for the second year in a row. Known as the discovery machine for the most creative fine jewelry in the world, Plukka integrated some of its most unconventional and sculptural diamond pieces from Yeprem Jewellery and its own brand, into the performances, underscoring its commitment to uncompromising creativity. Additionally, luminaries in the worlds of art and culture donned jewels from the collections complementing the theme of “colorful disruption”. (see names below).
Dinner guests enjoyed a live auction hosted by veteran auctioneer Simon de Pury, raising over $1 million and a performance by Norwegian artist Tori Wrånes. The evening concluded on the dance floor with entertainment by DJ Mia Moretti and an impromptu, surprise performance by Ja Rule.
The silent auction included over 125 lots donated by artists such as: Marina Abramović, Donald Baechler**, Michael Bailey-Gates, Humberto & Fernando Campana, Francesco Clemente, Paul Cowan, Michael Dweck, Maximilian Eicke, Max Gimblett, Gregory de la Haba**, Nir Hod**, Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin, Annie Leibovitz, Peter Lindbergh, Kalup Linzy, Emilia** & Ilya Kabakov, Terence Koh, Susan Meiselas**, Sarah Meyohas**, G.T. Pelizzi**, Enoc Perez**, Kembra Pfahler, Randy Polumbo**, Ruby Sky Stiler, Henry Taylor and Dustin Yellin.
Abdullah Al Awadi, Shaika Paula Al-Sabah, Giancarla Berti, Martin Brand, Tory Burch, Seth Cameron, William I. Campbell, Jayma Cardoso, Nicholas Coblence, Bob Colacello, Susan & David Edelstein, Stacy Engman*, Kim Heirston-Evans & Richard Evans, Roger Ferris, Eric Firestone, Kate Foley, Amanda & Glenn Fuhrman, Audrey & Martin Gruss, Troy Halterman, Dana Hammond, Jack Hanley, Amanda Hearst, Leila Heller, Kathy & Richard Hilton, Carola Jain*, Ilya Kabakov, Barbara & Chiswell Langhorne, Jack Macrae, Fern Mallis, Anne Hearst* & Jay McInerney, Christophe de Menil, Edward Nahem, Sophie Oakley, Holly Peterson, Lauren Prakke*, Paola Prestini, Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia, Polina Proshkina, Michaela de Pury*, Charles Renfro, Ja Rule, Sarah & Izak Senbahar, Roberta Sherman, Eric Shiner, Stanley Stairs, Jill Stuart, Kelly Sugarman*, Lady Nahid Taghinia-Milani, Nadya Tolokonnikova, Johannes Vogt and Neda Young