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The Watermill Center’s Robert Wilson Dishes On The Center’s Proudest Accomplishments

Chelsea Katz

The Watermill Center will be hosting their 20th annual summer benefit, Devil's Heaven, later this month. (Courtesy Photo)

The Watermill Center brings together artists to experiment with their craft at their establishment at 39 Water Mill Towd Road. Robert Wilson founded the institution in 2006 and now The Devil's Heaven Summer Benefit is around the corner to to raise money for more artists to explore.

CK: Tell me about the birth of The Water Mill Center?

RW:In 1992, I established The Watermill Center on Long Island as a laboratory for the arts and humanities to support the work of young and emerging artists. In the 60s I had a loft on Spring Street where I brought together people from various cultural, social, and economic backgrounds to create new work. I spent time in the 60s and 70s out in Water Mill and have always been attracted to the landscape and the light. I feel that I am inviting people to my home and sharing the space with them. I maintain the space and allow others to interface with it, change it, and develop their own work in an aesthetic that can be completely different from my own.

We are in the process of a large scale expansion of Watermill. We are creating a Library of Inspiration or a Living Library that will link bound volumes with art pieces in the collection, architecture, and other media references. Inspiration cannot be taught, but we hope to nurture it at Watermill. We will also create a new residence space to house artists who are working at Watermill.

CK: What is your proudest accomplishment that has occurred at The Watermill Center?

RW: I am proudest of the artists that come through each year. They inspire me.

CK: Aside from your own act, what act are you most looking forward to seeing at The Devil's Heaven Summer Benefit?

RW: The beauty of our benefit each year is that I let the young international artists show their work. I guide the process by curating the grounds, but the work that is shown is completely their own. I look forward to seeing their work next to the work of Clementine Hunter and Dieter Meier.

CK: What is one thing that no one realizes about The Watermill Center?

RW: That we offered the first major exhibition of Jonathan Meese in the United States (this was in 2008). That we showcased the work of Mike Kelley last year with 27 works most of which had never been seen in the United States (last summer). That we won an award for this exhibition, first place for best show of the year in a non-profit gallery or alternative space by the International Association of Art Critics. That we will continue this tradition by showcasing the work of Dieter Meier and Clementine Hunter. That we operate year-round to support emerging artists and will invite between 12 and 17 groups to work in residence in the coming year. That Watermill artists have been shown around the world each year as our network continues to grow.

The Devil's Heaven: 20th Annual Summer Benefit will take place on July 27, 2013.

For more information about The Watermill Center visit www.watermillcenter.org.

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