The Watermill Center’s annual benefit is always one of the hottest tickets of the Hamptons season, drawing big names in the international art world and high-profile New York and the East End socials.
“Tonight marks the largest attendance we’ve had in 23 years,” said Robert Wilson, founder and artistic visionary of the Center as he welcomed everyone to its 23rd Annual Summer Benefit and Auction. “This year we have 130 artist participants representing over 28 nations,” he said. “Can you believe it!” As guests entered single-file through the bamboo entrance they met up with Jacques Reynaud’s Angels of Apocalypse accompanied by sound installations adapted from recent recordings by Oscar nominee singer/songwriter, ANOHNI (aka Anthony Hegarty).
So who was there? It was a stellar turn-out with such names 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 and David Edelstein, Stacy Engman, Kim Heirston-Evans and Richard Evans, Roger Ferris, Eric Firestone, Kate Foley, Amanda and Glenn Fuhrman, Audrey and Martin Gruss, Troy Halterman, Dana Hammond, Jack Hanley, Amanda Hearst, Leila Heller, Kathy and Richard Hilton, Carola Jain, Ilya Kabakov, Barbara and Chiswell Langhorne, Jack Macrae, Fern Mallis, Anne Hearst and 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 and Izak Senbahar, Roberta Sherman, Eric Shiner, Stanley Stairs, Jill Stuart, Kelly Sugarman, Lady Nahid Taghinia-Milani, Nadya Tolokonnikova, Johannes Vogt and Neda Young.
This year’s event, titled FADA: HOUSE OF MADNESS, featured new installations and performances by Watermill’s International Summer Program participants and honored Giancarla Berti in recognition of her support. 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 reflected on coming to terms with the contemporary world through personal, political and aesthetic perspectives.
Highlights of the evening 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 took in tJohn Margarita’s One ton tank– a poured concrete vessel filled with water and a young man wearing a black Speedo held down by weights.
There was also a silent auction hosted by veteran auctioneer Simon de Pury and a performance by Norwegian artist Tori Wrånes. The 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 and Vinoodh Matadin, Annie Leibovitz, Peter Lindbergh, Kalup Linzy, Emilia and 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.
About The Watermill Center: An interdisciplinary laboratory for the arts supporting young and emerging artists, The Center also presents exhibitions, public programing, and offers tours of its eight-and-a-half acres of grounds and sculpture gardens throughout the year.