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STAND: The Watermill Center Annual Summer Benefit

The 30th Anniversary Watermill Center Benefit takes a Stand with New Artist Exhibitions

Erica Silverman

2 August 2022

On July 30, The Watermill Center, an interdisciplinary laboratory for the arts and humanities in Water Mill, NY founded by avant-garde visionary Robert Wilson, celebrated its 30th anniversary Summer Benefit with STAND. Presented by Van Cleef & Arpels, and curated by Noah Khoshbin, the event united the worlds of art, theater, music, design, and fashion. The vibrant evening featured performances, installations, exhibitions, and culinary creations. The night was inspired by writer H.G Well’s assertion for renewal, “If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.” In acknowledgment of the international need for support and solidarity, STAND is a space where diverse artists can create together, communities can gather, and audiences can become participants. 

The Watermill Center celebrated the work of international artists through an engaging and dynamic evening in honor of artist Maria Bacardi. The “enchanted forest” and performance art extravaganza raised funds in support of its year-round programming. Invited artists filled the property with installations for guests to explore while enjoying cocktails and food by Chef Colin Ambrose of Estia’s Little Kitchen. Guests included President and CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels Helen King, dancer Lucinda Childs, fashion designer Nicole Miller, poet and painter Christopher Knowles, artist Carrie Mae Weems, and singer YOUnG PAriS

STAND: The Watermill Center Annual Summer Benefit

Courtesy of The Watermill Center.

STAND: The Watermill Center Annual Summer Benefit

Robert Nava, “Summoning Four Dragons,” 2021, 22 × 30 inches, acrylic, crayon, and grease pencil on paper; photo by Maria Baranova, courtesy of the artist, PACE gallery, and The Watermill Center.

STAND: The Watermill Center Annual Summer Benefit

Courtesy of artist Tsubasa Kato and The Watermill Center.

The gala marked the opening of solo exhibitions by returning alumni artist Christopher Knowles and Inga Maren Otto Fellowship resident Robert Nava. The comprehensive presentation of Knowles’ work covers all periods of his artistic career, including his drawings, typings, paintings, sculpture, sound work, and performance. Contemporary drawing and animations by Nava invite visitors to engage with the works within the Artist-in-Residence Studio. 

Curated by Wilson and Khoshbin, public exhibitions by cutting-edge artists at STAND will be on view through 2023. Adam Parker Smith’s outdoor “Sarcophagi” sculpture series is a response to recent global loss, symbolic gestures of lamentation at a time when public commemorations are conspicuously absent. Japanese artist Tsubasa Kato presents his evolving participatory installation/action “Pull and Raise,” highlighting the current need for global action. Bronze sculptures by artist Liz Glynn, based on Auguste Rodin’s work (The Thinker, Balzac and The Burghers of Calais), informed the project, “The Myth of Singularity.” Glynn emphasizes imperfections and distortion as a form, bringing to mind wounded androgynous bodies closely tied to the Dada works derived from WWI. 

The Center offers year-round artist residencies and educational programs, providing a global community with the time, space, and freedom to create and inspire. The rural campus combines multifunctional studios with ten acres of grounds and gardens, housing a curated art collection, expansive research library, and archives illustrating the life and work of Wilson, Artistic Director. Watermill enables Artists-in-Residence to integrate resources from the humanities and research from the sciences into contemporary artistic practice, with an emphasis on creativity and collaboration.

STAND: The Watermill Center Annual Summer Benefit

Photo by Maria Baranova, courtesy of The Watermill Center.

STAND: The Watermill Center Annual Summer Benefit

Courtesy of pianist Matthew Shipp and The Watermill Center.

STAND: The Watermill Center Annual Summer Benefit

Installation view of Christopher Knowles, “STAND,” photo by Maria Baranova, courtesy of the artist and The Watermill Center.

STAND: The Watermill Center Annual Summer Benefit

Installation view of Adam Parker Smith’s “Standing on the Moon,” courtesy of the artist and The Watermill Center.

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