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Black Tie International:
The 22nd Annual Watermill Center Summer Benefit & Auction
Photos by;©Patrick McMullan/Photo - Jared Siskin/


Inga Maren Otto, Robert Wilson

Inga Maren Otto, Robert Wilson


The 22nd Annual Watermill Center Summer Benefit & Auction


Saturday Evening’s Event, Circus of Stillness... the power over wild beasts, 
Raises Over $1.9 Million to Support

The Watermill Center’s Year-Round Residency and Education Programs






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 artistsCirkus 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.    


Benefit Co-Chairs included: Lindsey and Ian Adelman; Shaikha Paula Al-Sabah; Sonja Bebber and Martin Brand; Giancarla and Luciano Berti; Lisa and Sanford Ehrenkranz; Wendy and Roger Ferris; Laura and Michael Fisch; Anke and Jürgen Friedrich; Barbara Goldsmith; Claude Grunitzky; Josefin and Paul Hilal; Phil Hilal; Maja Hoffmann; Carola and Bob Jain; Calvin Klein; Bonnie Comley and Stewart F. Lane; Dorothy Lichtenstein; Eugenio Lopez; Honorable and Mrs. Earle I. Mack; Anne Hearst McInerney; Joanne Ooi; Inga Maren Otto; Katharina Otto-Bernstein and Nathan Bernstein; Lisa and Richard Perry; Tatiana and Campion Platt; Alexander Soros; Susan Shin; Barbara Slifka; and Christine Wächter-Campbell and William I. Campbell.


Honorary Chairs for the event included: Marina Abramović; Jane Adams; Pedro Almodóvar; Laurie Anderson; Mikhail Baryshnikov; Iman and David Bowie; Steve Buscemi; Lucinda Childs; Alba and Francesco Clemente; Chuck Close; Bob Colacello; Alan Cumming; Willem Dafoe; Christophe de Menil; Marianne Faithfull; Renée Fleming; Frank Gehry; Philip Glass; Jenny Holzer; Isabelle Huppert; Anjelica Huston; Bianca Jagger; Jim Jarmusch; Lang Lang; Annie Leibovitz; Kylie Minogue; Isaac Mizrahi; Jessye Norman; Charles Renfro; Tim Robbins; Sir Salman Rushdie; Sharon Stone; and Rufus Wainwright and Jörn Weisbrodt.


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 Heartache City.  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 Barrsheadalhfeaturing guitarist Brandon Seabrook, bassist Tim Dahland 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.


Live Auction Highlights

·         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)


Silent Auction Highlights

·         Larissa Lockshin, Untitled (Checkered Past), 2015 - soft pastel and oil on satin with wood frame

·         Jesse Greenberg, Push Fat 4, 2015 - resin and pigment

·         James Clar, Nemo, 2012 - LED lights, filter and wire


Sponsors and supporters of the 22nd Annual Summer Benefit & Auction included: Lead Sponsor Plukka, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC, and Theory.

About The Watermill Center

Founded by avant-garde visionary Robert Wilson, The Watermill Center is an interdisciplinary laboratory for the arts and humanities located onLong Island’s East End. The Watermill Center is dedicated to supporting young and emerging artists through its year-round artist residency program, International Summer Program, education programs, and open rehearsals. The Center also presents exhibitions and public programs and offers tours of its 20,000-square-foot building and eight-and-a-half acre grounds and sculpture gardens throughout the year.  For more information about The Watermill Center, please visit



Gerard Mc Keon and Joyce Brooks.  Photo by:  Rose Billings/

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