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Last Sunday, The Watermill Center held its 23rd Annual Summer Benefit & Auction celebration, dubbed “FADA: HOUSE OF MADNESS.” This year’s event was already much anticipated as hip hop artist Kanye West was anticipated to perform, yet due to last minute complications, it was instead artist Ja Rule who took over the stage and pulled together an impromptu but highly enjoyed performance of his longtime hit Always on time.
This year’s event marked the largest attendance in the past 23 years according to director Robert Wilson. Work by an eclectic selection of 130 artists representing over 28 nations was shown alongside new installations and performances by Watermill’s International Summer Program participants, all spread across its eight-and-a-half acre grounds. Madame Giancarla Berti was expressly honored in recognition of her extraordinary support.
Along the bamboo entrance was Jacques Reynaud’s Angels of Apocalypse, complemented by sound adapted from recent recordings by Oscar nominee singer/songwriter, ANOHNI (aka Anthony Hegarty). Guests included Amanda Hearst, Caroline Vreeland, Constance Jablonski, Maxwell Osborne, Kate Foley, and Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia, to name but a few.
The artist collective Bruce High Quality Foundation presented As We Lay Dying – a variety of works and performances interspersed throughout the center’s vegetal grounds that reflected on coming to terms with the contemporary world through personal, political and aesthetic perspectives.
Russian feminist punk rock protest group Pussy Riot displayed Make America Great Again, a reactionary installation piece inspired by Donald Trump’s campaign slogan.
Plukka, the international fine jewelry retailer, supported The Watermill Center for the second year in a row. Known as the discovery machine for the most creative fine jewelry in the world, Plukka integrated some of its most unconventional and sculptural diamond pieces from Yeprem Jewellery and its own brand, into the many performances, underscoring its commitment to uncompromising creativity.
Dinner guests enjoyed a live auction hosted by veteran auctioneer Simon de Pury, raising over $2 million. The 125 lots presented were donated by the likes of Marina Abramović, Donald Baechler, Humberto & Fernando Campana, Francesco Clemente, Nir Hod, Henry Taylor, and more. The auction was accompanied by a performance by Norwegian artist Tori Wrånes and the evening’s festivities finished on the dance floor with entertainment by DJ Mia Moretti and the surprise performance by Ja Rule.