Robert Wilson & Watermill

In 1992, Robert Wilson acquired the old Western Union building, the laboratory that achieved such innovations as the modern fax machine. It stands atop six wooded acres and a two-hour drive away from New York City in the Hamptons, Long Island.

Bob Wilson destines the building to become the Watermill Center of multidisciplinary and international art. During the last 15 years of its existence, the Watermill center functioned as a temporary structure, open only during the summer months. In 2003, Bob Wilson decides to redesign the building as a permanent space, using only the foundation from the original Western Union building.

He is convinced that all aspects of life and the artistic disciplines should merge together. By encouraging transition from one space to another, Watermill’s floor plans reflect this steadfast conviction.

In addition to master classes with acknowledged figures, the artists’ development of the gardens and buildings opens new perspectives for their life and art, therefore encapsulating an important portion of their education at the Center.

The Watermill Center

The Watermill Center

During each of its summer residency programs, the Watermill Center invites a group of internationally acknowledged artists. They create a number of spectacular installations on the Watermill site and greatly inspire the young residents.

The importance given to cooperation and to the establishment of an international artistic network distinguishes the Watermill Center from any other American residency programs.

The official inauguration in July 2006 celebrated the completion of Watermill’s construction and the dawn of a new era of yearlong residencies. For this occasion, the Foundation invited some of the most innovative and multidimensional artists from previous programs to create a piece related to the event.

More than 3,000 people visited the Watermill center during that inaugural weekend.

The activities of this festive evening included a cocktail party, a silent auction, a “live” auction animated by Simon de Pury, installations and performances by artists invited as residents— Andrey Bartevev (Russia), Laurent Berger (France), Tania Bruguera (Cuba), Cao fei (China), Vadim Fishkin (Russia), Olivia Glebeenk (Denmark) William Pope L.(United States), Collaboration Town (United States), U Theater (Taiwan) and Matt Leines (United States)….concluding with a seated dinner, a bal and an exhibition of works selected by the curator Jean-Paul Barbier Muller from the Foundation’s collection.

The following day witnessed the official opening of the Watermill Center and the doors were opened to the public. Guides escorted the crowds through the exhibit, the installations and the building.

Meanwhile, children attended workshops. The entire day was free of charge in order to encourage the community to take part in the activities of the center.

The artists’ workshops and artistic growth began anew under the direction of Bob Wilson on the day following the gala and continued until mid-August. Residencies were then offered in autumn and the following spring… summer…