Exclusive: What to Expect at the 2016 Watermill Center Summer Benefit

It's been called the "Burning Man of the gala scene."

Watermill Center Summer Benefit 2015. Image: by Lovis Ostenrik

The 23rd Annual Watermill Center Summer Benefit & Auction, one of the year’s most anticipated art events is rapidly approaching and artnet News has the exclusive scoop on what guests at the Hampton’s wildest party can expect.

This year’s event, titled FADA: House of Madness, will be held on Saturday July 30. As a special element of this year’s event, the Bruce High Quality Foundation (BHQF) is presenting a curated group of installations titled As We Lay Dying, a variety of works and performances interspersed throughout the Center’s grounds, collaborating with some of the participants of the International Summer Program.

The title takes its name from Le Corbusier‘s La Maison du Fada (The Nutter’s House). Built between 1947 and 1952 in Marseille, the building is often cited as the initial inspiration for the Brutalist architectural style.

Watermill Center grounds. ©Kristian Kruuser

Watermill Center grounds. ©Kristian Kruuser

The massive, one-of-a-kind evening, thrown by the Byrd Hoffman Water Mill Foundation, will welcome 1,000 guests, many of whom work in the fields of art, performance, theater, fashion, and design. Festivities kick off at 6:00 PM with cocktails and a silent auction hosted by veteran auctioneer Simon de Pury and will feature artists such as Marina Abramović, Francesco Clemente, Max Gimblett, Nan Goldin, Nir Hod, Emilia Kabakov, and Henry Taylor.

The night’s honoree is longtime Watermill supporter Giancarla Berti, with proceeds from ticket sales earmarked for the Watermills’ year-round artist residency and education programs, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.

The 2015 Watermill Center Benefit Party. ©Julian Mommert

Watermill Summer Benefit & Auction 2015. ©Julian Mommert

“In tribute to the extraordinary philanthropist and Watermill supporter Madame Giancarla Berti, I am honored to collaborate with international artists ANOHNI, Shaun Gladwell and the Bruce High Quality Foundation, alongside our emerging Summer Program Artists,” Robert Wilson, founder and artistic director of the Watermill Center, told artnet News over email. “ANOHNI is one of the leading vocalists in contemporary music today. As guests wander throughout our grounds, they will encounter her music as never before. It will set the tone for the evening.”

“To mark the 10th Anniversary of the Center’s year-round Artist Residence Program, I’m pleased to announce that we will begin breaking ground on the construction of a new, 10,000 square-foot residence facility,” said William Wagner, managing director of the Byrd Hoffman Water Mill Foundation in a statement, about the construction which will begin sometime this summer.

Watermill Center Summer Benefit 2015. Image: by Lovis Ostenrik

Watermill Summer Benefit & Auction 2015. Image: by Lovis Ostenrik

Attendees will have the opportunity to tour the eight-and-a-half acre grounds and discover installations and performances that are scattered across the property as part of Watermill’s International Summer Program.

These new works from residents hailing from over 25 countries will be presented alongside BHQF’s exhibition, which features a portion of the summer residents. The unifying theme, as selected by BHQF, is a “reflection on coming to terms with the contemporary world through personal, political, and aesthetic perspectives.”

Highlights will include a sound installation created specifically for the Watermill Center event by ANOHNI, skateboard performances and installations inspired by Shaun Gladwell’s 2016 film Skateboarders vs. Minimalism, and Constellation in Red, Yellow and Blue, a monumental light sculpture by 2016 Inga Maren Otto Fellow G.T. Pellizzi.

The 23rd Annual Watermill Center Summer Benefit & Auction will take place at the Watermill Center, New York, on July 30, 2016, 6:00 p.m.–12:00 a.m. Tickets start at $500.


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