If you’ve been to DIA and STORM KING Art Centers and enjoyed them, there’s another territory dedicated to art, only 90 minutes from New York in the Hamptons. The Watermill Centre of over 7,000 art and artefact pieces. Spanning the history of humankind, perfectly integrated into all aspects of the stunning building and grounds. There are no labels and pictures of Warhol are randomly shown next to ancient Indonesian masks and contemporary, translucent ceramics.
There are many chairs from all around the world and you can identify the inspirations to Bob Wilson’s work. Visitors are welcome to sit on Shiro Kuramata’s $250K chair, well…in fact word has it you can interact with most of the pieces.
Nixon, the Center Manager, kindly became my unexpected tour guide, as I walked in a non-tour day. He gave me a fascinating 2 hour tour, including a sneak view of Bob Wilson’s private apartments (loved the triple bed), a visit to the roof terrace currently being turned into a vegetable plot and a walk through the archives.
But the Watermill Center is not really a museum; it’s a laboratory for performance founded by Robert Wilson as a unique environment for young and emerging artists from around the world to explore new ideas. The avant-garde stage director, better known in Europe than in the States leads a residency programme every summer. To celebrate the end of it, the Watermill throws a fantastic party on the last Saturday each July – which raises nearly half their annual operating budget.
The Watermill Center itself is a 20,000+ square foot flexible working space including a 6,000 volume research library, galleries, rehearsal and staging spaces, workshops, offices, and residences situated on six acres of artist-designed and landscaped grounds.
The Watermill Center, 39 Watermill Towd Road, Water Mill, NY
Tel: (631) 726-4628
Book your tour here, Nixon might not be so obliging next time!