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Home » Arts & Social Life, Food & Wine, Art Exhibits, Benefits

Watermill Center’s Big Bang Delivers a Magical Mystery Tour

Submitted by on August 3, 2012 – 2:34 pmNo Comment

Watermill Center Gala

By Heather Buchanan

If you’ve never descended down the rabbit hole to Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center’s annual gala, you have missed one of most coveted experiences in Hamptons fundraising.  This year’s Big Bang proved that the creative spirit is alive, well and being nurtured, raising over $1.5 million for the Watermill Center’s year round artist residency and education programs.  With input from all these creative minds this was no business-as-usual benefit under the big top.

Watermill Center Big Bang

There was na’er a plastic glass of cheap wine nor blue blazer to be found.  More like decorated dread locks from designer and artist Carolyn Ramirez , feathered hats  from National Arts Club Curator Stacy Engman and cool kimonos from textile guru Jack Lenor Larsen as well as fine wine from Mouton Rothschild.

Artist Carolyn Ramirez

Artist Carolyn Ramirez

Watermill Center Harry Grant, Stacy Engman

Harry Brant, Stacy Engman, Samantha Zaitz, Peter Brant Jr.

Jack Lenor Larsen

Jack Lenor Larsen

Misaki Kawai big bubbles

Misaki Kawai big bubbles

Guests entered through Misaki Kawai’s big bubbles which matched perfectly the specialty Bacardi cocktails and emerged at the rear of the center to experience Wang Qingsong’s competition, an amazing decoupage of the whole building.

Wang Qingsong competition

Wang Qingsong competition

Far from a bore —  this creative benefit gave whole new meaning to the cock-tale hour.

Watermill Center

Semi naked men and women in the woods, mysterious black boxes, pentagrams, dancing in the mud, and an artist, Paula Garcia in magnetized body gear, being pelted with flying nails and scrap metal promised and an extraordinary evening.

Paula Garcia noise body

Paula Garcia series noise body

Luckily there were a cadre of attractive men with umbrellas escorting guests through the rain.   One chivalrous man offered me shelter under his and to my delight, I discovered it was Chris Harrison, host of ABC’s The Bachelor and The  Bachelorette.  As a devoted fan, it was a surreal moment to meet him in the forest, and I have to say he’s more handsome than any of the hunks on the show.  I pitched the Hamptons as an episode destination, only imagining the fun the contestants could have here.

Kitty Huffman endgame

Kitty Huffman endgame

The rain only added to the surreal feel and any woman who wouldn’t brave ruining her blow out missed a wild ride through the enchanted forest.  I don’t know if it’s just reading too much Fifty Shades of Grey but the scary men in ninja suits were a strange turn on.  These art and performance installations incited  intense discussions not to mention some crazy dreams.

Desi Santiago mass 2

Desi Santiago mass 2

If you waited and watched, surprises might follow like Atopos CVC + Craig Green, Home Sweet Home where black boxes were opened to reveal their secret contents.

Atopos CVC + Craig Green home sweet home

Atopos CVC + Craig Green home sweet home

The guards at Buckingham Palace have nothing on these performers.  They are steadfast in their concentration and immunity to distraction, even in a downpour.

Hanna Reidmar slingshot

Hanna Reidmar slingshot

Kembra Pfahler the voluptuouis horror of karen black

Kembra Pfahler the voluptuous horror of karen black

Kembra Pfahler and the voluptuous horror of karen black proved that not only do you need waterproof mascara but waterproof body make up if you’re going to perform in the rain.

Chris Engel & Kathie Russo

Chris Engel & Kathie Russo

The guests comprised the who’s who of the art and design.  The Benefit Chairs included: Jay McInerney, Anne Hearst McInerney, Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed, Lisa Anastos, Jorn Weisbrodt, Charles Renfro, Lisa Perry, Shaikha Paula al Sabah, Henry Buhl, Dorothy Lichtenstein, Tatiana & Campion Platt, Louise Blouin, Stewart Lane & Bonnie Comely. The world class silent auction was highlighted by Cindy Sherman’s winning bid on Otto Piene’s stunning guilded work. A few savvy guests closely followed art patron Beth Rudin deWoody to see whose work she was bidding on.  This was inevitably the stamp of approval for the numerous bids which followed such as on Terry Richardson’s delicious “Pink Lips.”

Pink Lips by Terry Richardson

Pink Lips by Terry Richardson

The Big Bang proved that nothing can dampen a spirited evening of the arts.  I have to give a shout out to the bartenders who graciously gave me shelter in the middle of the woods.  To Sam and Luke – cheers!

watermill heather and bartenders

Heather Buchanan with Sam & Luke

You can get a taste of the whole experience on August 12th at the Discover Watermill Day which is free and open to the public.  Also be sure to check out their lecture and performance schedule because once you experience the rabbit hole, you have to get back to Watermill Wonderland.

more info  www.watermillcenter.org

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