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This past weekend, on the evening of July 26th, 2014,  The Byrd Hoffman Water Mill Foundation celebrated its 21st annual summer benefitOne Thousand Nights and One Night: Sleepless Nights of Sheherazadeat The Watermill Center.  The event was a massive success with the Foundation raising a record setting $2.2 million dollars to support the Center’s International Summer Arts Program and the year-round Artist Residency and Education Programs, which provide young and emerging artists a unique opportunity to develop their work.  The Benefit featured new work by more than 100 artists from 30 countries who were selected to participate in the five-week summer program under the guidance of Artistic Director, Robert Wilson; the U.S. premiere of Wilson’s recent video portraits of Lady Gaga, titled Portraits of Lady Gagaand a highlight performance of SISYPHUS by acclaimed experimental theatre director, visual artist and choreographer, Dimitris Papaioannou. Wilson has also just announced that the Paris Opera has commissioned him and Phillip Glass to produce a new opera: The Palace of Arabian Nights.

21st Annual WATERMILL CENTER Summer Benefit-mosphere, (Performance)
21st Annual WATERMILL CENTER Summer Benefit-mosphere, (Performance)

The magical and surreal evening began with the sun passing through Annick Lavalee-Benny’s cloud installation, titled n.u.a.g.e.s. Director / composer Jim Jarmusch became part of the series of installations, playing his electric guitar at the entrance. An estimated 1400 international curators, collectors, artists and benefactors roamed the Center’s 8 acres to experience 27-site specific installations and performances interspersed amongst outdoor sculptures and artifacts including Baboo Liao and Gintare Minelgaite’s 1001 Nights in America, a whimsical, satirical look at American home life. The evening’s dress code “Bazaar Chic”, as Wilson explained to patrons, was a reference to the event’s honoree, a senior member of the Kuwaiti royal family and avid art collector, Shaikha Paula Al-Sabah. Guests included the creme de la creme of the New York and Hamptons social scene as well as designers such as Nicole Miller, Vivienne Tam, B Michael, Victor de Souza as well as actresses such as Kelly Rutherford and Kim Catrall. The Untitled Magazine‘s editor-in-chief, who attended the event with style director, Phillip Bloch, said of the evening, “It was breathtaking walking in to the WaterMill Center with artificial clouds floating, trumpeters playing, and performance artists flinging themselves from the sides of the building from metallic threads.  The scene was just magical, and the guests were all clearly in the spirit, wearing creatively dazzling ensembles that complimented the incredible landscape set forth by the visionary Robert Wilson. The performances on the grounds were captivating and original, I have never seen anything quite like it.”

Jim Jarmusch== THE WATERMILL CENTER’S 21st ANNUAL SUMMER BENEFIT== The Watermill Center, Watermill, NY== July 26, 2014== ©Patrick McMullan.com== Photo - Nicholas Hunt/PatrickMcMullan.com ==
Jim Jarmusch==
The Watermill Center, Watermill, NY==
July 26, 2014==
©Patrick McMullan.com==
Photo – Nicholas Hunt/PatrickMcMullan.com

The live auction was conducted by veteran auctioneer Simon de Pury, which together with the online auction hosted by Artsy.com, raised $1.2 million. Among the notable lots in the live auction, were two Portraits of Lady Gaga by Robert Wilson, influenced by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’ portrait of Mademoiselle Caroline Rivière and Jacques-Louis David’s famed painting, The Death of Marat; works by Frank Gehry, Anish Kapoor, Anselm Kiefer, Emilia and Ilya Kabakov; and an unsolicited, anonymous donation of $100,000 for a commissioned work by Robert Wilson.  Afterward, guests enjoyed dessert and dancing to DJ Chris Bachmann in the silent auction tent.


Support an Artist-in-Residency Lots – $102,000
Anselm Keifer’s SAMPSON – $220,000
Frank Gehry’s, FISH LAMP – $80,000 to Yung Hee Kim
Ilya and Emilia Kabakov’s THE SHIP OF TOLERANCE – $75,000 to Janna Bullock

Jon Pestoni’s DRACULA – $27,000
Julian Schnabel’S UNTITLED – $30,000
Nobuhiro Nakanishi’s LAYER DRAWING, LIGHT OF THE SUNRISE – $24,000

Photos courtesy of Billy Farrell Agency and PatrickMcMullan.com

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