AO Onsite – Watermill, New York: “Voluptuous Panic” Bob Wilson’s 18th Annual Watermill Center Benefit

August 1st, 2011

All photos by L. Streeter for Art Observed.

At six o’clock on Saturday evening, throngs of guests could be seen gathering at the entrance of Robert Wilson’s art compound in Watermill, New York, awaiting entrance to “Voluptuous Panic.” Patrons of the arts gather here once a year to support the foundations ongoing effort to “provide a unique environment for young and emerging artists to explore new ideas and foster their career development” (via  Artists  from over 30 different countries living at the estate as a part of the Watermill International Summer Program Residency were asked to create installations and performances overlaying the six acre estate. Guests were invited to wander the grounds and woods exploring the various installations. This year, the attending crowd fit right in with the somewhat manic works themselves; the dress code, entitled “Fearless” allowed for a very flamboyant, almost surreal flock of guests.

More text and Images after the Jump…

The event included a silent auction, and a live auction was held later during dinner by Simon de Pury, chairman of Phillips de Pury & Company.   Guests bid on blue-chip works by such artists such as Marina Abramovic and and Andy Warhol. Ultimately, the event garnered about $1.5 million dollars, with sales in the live auction reaching up to $150,000.


Rufus Wainwright and friend.

Andy Warhol, Martha Graham: Lamentation (1986)

Richard Johnson

Kenny Scarf, Cosmic Donut (2008)

Cindy Sherman, Untitled (2003)

Katherine Bernhardt, Epidaurus (2008

A passing friend quenches the thirst of a performer buried in the ground with champagne.

Marina Abramovic, Me and Me II (2008)

Bill Cunningham

Alanna Heiss, Fred Sherman, Klaus Biesenbach and friends.

Ray Johnson, Untitled (Dear Etant) (1970)

Robert Maplethorpe (2008)

Guests and performers mingle as the installation viewing draws to a close.

-L. Streeter

Related Links…

Benefit Main Page []
Robert Wilson: Working as a Way of Living [NY Times]
Art-World Celebs and Glitter-Coated Girls Cavort at Robert Wilson’s “Voluptuous” Birthday Bash at Watermill [WSJ]