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Black Tie International:
The Big Bang


Image Credit: Paul Thek, Big Bang Painting, 1987-88; The Watermill Center Collection Courtesy Alexander and Bonin, New York Photograph: Orcutt & Van Der Putten

Image Credit: Paul Thek, Big Bang Painting, 1987-88;
The Watermill Center Collection
Courtesy Alexander and Bonin, New York
Photograph: Orcutt & Van Der Putten

The Big Bang
The 19th Annual Watermill Center
 Summer Benefit raises:
$1,550,000 for The Watermill Center

The Watermill Center
39 Watermill Towd Road
Water Mill, New York 11976


The Watermill Center, July 29 – “The Big Bang,” the 19th Annual Watermill Summer Benefit, raises $1,550,000 for the Center’s year-round artist residency and education programs.  Over $800,000 was raised in ticket sales and over $700,000 during the silent and live auction. 

Highlights of the live auction included: Cindy Sherman winning Otto Piene's stunning guilded work.  Other highlights included a rare drawing by Willem de Kooning and unique works by Anselm Reyle, Jim Hodges, and Michelangelo Pistoletto.  Maja Hoffman, major supporter of the Mike Kelley: 1954-2012 exhibition won a unique hand painted mask from Robert Wilson's production of The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic

Highlights of this year's silent auction included works by: Marina Abramovic, Daniel Arsham, Alice Aycock, Scott Campbell, Sandro Chia, Christopher Chiappa, Colette, Michael Combs, Anne-Lise Coste, Alex Da Corte, E. V. Day and Kembra Pfahler, Peter Daton, Jen DeNike, Mark Dennis, Michael Dweck, Maximilan Eicke, Jan Fabre, Nicholas Forker, Brendan Fowler, James Franco, Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe, Philip Glass, Evan Gruzis, Stephanie Hirsch, Rosy Keyser, Zak Kitnick, Laleh Khorramian, Jeremy Kost, Mona Kuhn, Guillermo Kuitca, Ari Marcopoulos, Megan Marrin, Alex Melamid, Olivier Mosset, Juff Muhs, Youssef Nabil, Shirin Neshat, Erwin Olaf, Dennis Oppenheim, Terry Richardson, Mariah Robertson, Will Ryman, Lola Schnabel, Shelter Serra, Seher Shah, Gedi Sibony, Lucien Smith, Matthew Stone, Paul Thek, Kon Trubkovich, Spencer Tunick, Ian Tweedy, Nick van Woert, Dan Walsh, Albert Watson, Robert Wilson, Jonas Wood, Aaron Young.

Over 20 site specific installations and performances were presented on the grounds during the event by such artists as Misaki Kawai, Wang Quinsong, Lucien Smith, Heeran Lee, Paul McCarthy, Kembra Pfahler and The Voluptuos Horror of Karen Black, Atopos CVC + Manon Kundig,  Carol Ross, Desi Santiago, Tucker Marder, Kitty Huffman, Atopos CVC + Craig Green, Masanao Hirayama, Hanna Reidmar, Paula Garcia, Marianna Kavallieratos, Thanassis Akokkalidis, and Janice Lancaster Larsen.

All of these works were produced by over 70 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 to the community on August 12 from 3-6 pm for Watermill’s annual Discover Watermill day which is free and open to the public. 

Guests for cocktails (over 1,200) were greeted by an installation created by summer program participants that recreated the above benefit image of Paul Thek's work: Big Bang Painting and Bacardi specialty cocktail: The Big Bang.  The west terrace featured a 60' inflatable installation by Paul McCarthy.  The West fasҫade of the building was covered entirely by a spectacular and dramatic installation by artist Wang Quinsong.

Also opening at the event was Mike Kelley: 1954 - 2012, a tribute exhibition in collaboration with the LUMA Foundation.  The exhibition is curated by Harald Falckenberg and will be on view at The Watermill Center through September 16.  For more information and to make an appointment to view the exhibition please visit:

Over 650 guests arrived in the dinner tent to decorations by Atopos CVC + Yoshikazu Yamagata.  This year the Master of Ceremonies was Jay McInerney.   Daniel Chetrit DJ'ed in the Auction Tent after dinner, where guests also mingled at the 20 foot bar, compliments of Bacardi.

Guests at the event included Robert Wilson with Benefit Chairs, Jay McInerney & Anne Hearst McInerney, Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed, Lisa Anastos, Jorn Weisbrodt, Charles Renfro, Lisa Perry, Shaikha Paula al Sabah, Henry Buhl, Dorothy Lichtenstein, Tatiana & Campion Platt, Louise Blouin, Stewart Lane & Bonnie Comely.

Along with Contemporary Chairs and Committee members Valerie Boster, Meredith Melling Burke, Sofia Sanchez Barrenechea, Peter Brandt Jr, Harry Brandt, Lauren Remington Platt, Martin Dawson, Daisy Johnson, Edward Chapman, Mark Mullet, Behnaz Sarafpour, Roopal Patel.

And many others including Tom Sachs, Simon de Pury, Cindy Sherman, Bob Colacello, Nicole Miller, Jane Holzer, Klaus Biesenbach, Renaud Dutreil, Richard Meier, Zaldy, Jim Signorelli, Alina Cho, Stefano Tonchi, Roselee Goldberg, Ubah Hassan,Beth DeWoody, Kyle DeWoody, Nicholas Coblence, Eugenio Lopez, Maja Hoffmann & Stanley Buchthal, Giancarla & Luciano Berti, Lewis Cullman & Louise Hirschfield Cullman, Maria Pessino, Alexander Gilkes & Misha Nonoo, Franz Burda, Elsa Sylvan, Jonathan Farkas & Somers Farkas, Joseph Kraeutler, Sarah Hasted, Sarah Hoover, Todd Bishop, Thierry Barbier-Mueller. 

The Byrd Hoffman Watermill Foundation thanks LVMH: Moët Hennesy. Louis Vuitton.  Beverages generously provided by Bacardi USA, Mouton Rothschild, Peroni, Izze Sparkling Juice, Perrier & Acqua Panna.  Olivier Cheng Catering and Events catered the event.  Gift bag sponsors were Dior Beauty, Make Up For Ever, IllyCaffe, Graphic Image, and Joe Fresh. 

For more information on the Watermill Center, please visit

For additional information please contact:
Pinki Patel  |
TJ Witham  |


The Watermill Center is 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. 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.

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