The 16th Annual Watermill Center Summer Benefit “Inferno”


This year’s Watermill summer benefit theme was “Inferno”. The center was a circus scene, performers enact pieces by the center’s artists-in-residence, including a fire-eater courtesy of Todd Robbins; costumed children operating an aptly named giant “Spider Puppet” by Sophia Jones, and, just before dinner, showgirls and an aerial act from C. Ryder Cooley.

“Every year we try to do something different from the last,” explained the arts organization’s founder, Robert Wilson, as he greeted arrivals along with Isabella Rossellini.

Hence, perhaps, the “flaming” dress code which got sartorial sparks flying with lots of red and orange frocks accessorized with devil horns, headdresses and, inexplicably, a lot of Ascot-style hats. There were also real flames, of course, in the form of festive tiki torches, which lined the path through the forest along which art installations were displayed.

A crowd that included Calvin Klein, Christophe de Menil, Amalia Dayan, Debbie Bancroft, actress Laura Harring and two of the New York “Real Housewives,” Countess Luann de Lesseps and Ramona Singer.

$1.4 million were earn for the center. Simon de Pury led a live auction, including a piece by Terence Koh and a portrait of Ingrid Bergman that her daughter Rossellini helped hawk.  Afterwards, Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos, Richard Meier and Nacho Figueras listened to Martha Wainwright perform before the DJs took over and dancing began.

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