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The Watermill Center is a laboratory for the arts and humanities providing a global community the time, space and freedom to create and inspire.

Founded in 1992 by avant-garde visionary Robert Wilson, The Watermill Center is an interdisciplinary laboratory for the arts and humanities situated on ten acres of Shinnecock ancestral territory on Long Island’s East End. With an emphasis on creativity and collaboration, The Center offers year-round artist residencies and education programs, providing a global community with the time, space, and freedom to create and inspire.

The Watermill Center’s rural campus combines multifunctional studios with ten acres of manicured grounds and gardens, housing a carefully curated art collection, expansive research library, and archives illustrating the life and work of Artistic Director, Robert Wilson. The Center’s facilities enable Artists-in-Residence to integrate resources from the humanities and research from the sciences into contemporary artistic practice. Through year-round public programs, The Watermill Center demystifies the artistic process by facilitating unique insight into the creative process of a rotating roster of national and international artists.

 

HISTORY

Searching for a new artistic base and incubator for his work, theater director Robert Wilson found a former Western Union research facility in 1986. Abandoned since the 1960s, the building, on the outpost of the Shinnecock Reservation in Water Mill, NY, was in terrible condition, but it had the potential he had been looking for. The building also had a storied history as it was the site where the stylus for the first fax machine had been developed.

By 1989, Wilson’s mind was made up and he was convinced that there was magic in the old and obsolete buildings, and purchased the deed for the building and land. In 1992, The Watermill Center was founded by Wilson and The Byrd Hoffman Water Mill Foundation, with the first International Summer Program being held in collaboration with the Trisha Brown Dance Company. Wilson envisioned Watermill as a laboratory for experimentation, technological and otherwise—a space accommodating artists-in-residence, students, and collaborators, housing an extensive collection of art and artifacts and providing a “think tank” in which artists could conceive, develop, and rehearse new work.

 
 

ROBERT WILSON

Avant-garde theater director and visual artist Robert Wilson is the Founder and Artistic Director of The Watermill Center.

Born in Waco, Texas, Wilson is among the world’s foremost theater and visual artists. His works for the stage unconventionally integrate a wide variety of artistic media, including dance, movement, lighting, sculpture, music and text. His images are aesthetically striking and emotionally charged, and his productions have earned the acclaim of audiences and critics worldwide.

After being educated at the University of Texas and Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute, Wilson founded the New York-based performance collective “The Byrd Hoffman School of Byrds” in the mid-1960s, and developed his first signature works, including Deafman Glance (1970) and A Letter for Queen Victoria (1974-1975). With Philip Glass, he wrote the seminal opera Einstein on the Beach (1976). 

Wilson’s artistic collaborators include many writers and musicians such as Heiner Müller, Tom Waits, Susan Sontag, Laurie Anderson, William Burroughs, Lou Reed, Jessye Norman, and Anna Calvi. He has also left his imprint on masterworks such as Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape, Brecht/Weill’s Threepenny Opera, Debussy’s Pelléas et Melisande, Goethe’s Faust, Homer’s Odyssey, Jean de la Fontaine’s Fables, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Verdi’s La Traviata, and Sophocles’ Oedipus. 

Wilson’s drawings, paintings, and sculptures have been presented around the world in hundreds of solo and group showings, and his works are held in private collections and museums throughout the world.

Wilson has been honored with numerous awards for excellence, including a Pulitzer Prize nomination, two Premio Ubu awards, the Golden Lion of the Venice Biennale, and an Olivier Award. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as the German Academy of the Arts, and holds 8 Honorary Doctorate degrees. France pronounced him Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters (2003) and Officer of the Legion of Honor (2014); Germany awarded him the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit (2014). 

www.robertwilson.com

Contact Info


39 Watermill Towd Road Water Mill New York 11976 USA.


visit@watermillcenter.org   https://www.watermillcenter.org/

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