Setting a record of $2.2 million, the 21st Annual Watermill Center Summer Benefit and Auction can confidently be called a success. The funds will support The Byrd Hoffman Water Mill Foundation’s art residency and education programs, which help cultivate young and emerging talent.
Entitled “One Thousand Nights and One Night: Sleepless Nights of Sheherazade,” the benefit recognized international art patron and member of the Kuwaiti royal family Shaikha Paula Al-Sabah through an evening of auctions and visual and performance arts. The theme comes from Al-Sabah’s announcement of his commission to write an opera (with Phillip Glass)—The Palace of Arabian Nights—for the Paris Opera.
Thus, on Saturday night, the many acres of the center were dotted with 27 site-specific installations and performances. Specialty cocktails and outdoor sculptures and artifacts received the near 1400 guests who included curators, benefactors, collectors, and artists such as Reem Acra, Princess Khaliya Aga Khan, Amanda Hearst, Nicole Miller, and Kim Cattrall.
At the center of the evening were the live and silent auctions and dinner. Hosted by Artsy and conducted by Simon de Pury, the live auction raised upwards of $1.2 million and featured Portraits of Lady Gaga by Robert Wilson. The silent auction included over 100 works by artists such as Daniel Arsham, Julian Schnabel, and Simeen Farhat.