The Watermill Center is an interdisciplinary laboratory for the arts and humanities located in Long Island, NY on the site of a former Western Union communication research facility. Founded by theatre and visual artist Robert Wilson as a place for young and emerging artists to work, learn, create, and grow with each other, Watermill integrates performing arts practice with resources from the humanities, research from the sciences, and inspiration from the visual arts. Watermill is unique within the global landscape of experimental theatrical performance, and regularly convenes the brightest minds from all disciplines to do, in Wilson’s words, “what no one else is doing.”
The Watermill Center uses CollectionSpace to manage its collection of over 8,000 art works and artifacts spanning the history of humankind. Based on founder Robert Wilson’s vision, the collection is highly personal and eclectic, ranging widely across all continents, from the Stone Age to the present.
The Watermill Center collection contains many museum-quality pieces, especially from Indonesian cultures, and by contemporary artists such as Paul Thek, Donald Judd, Bruce Nauman, Agnes Martin, and Richard Serra. The collection also includes one of the largest privately held collections of chairs by important designers like Carlo Bugatti, Gerrit Rietveldt, Charles Eames, Gio Ponti, Shiro Kuramata, as well as Robert Wilson’s original designs. However, its main strength lies in the careful juxtaposition of very different objects, transcending the distinction between high and low culture, between art and the everyday. Every single work derives its significance through its dialogue with other objects in a carefully controlled arrangement. The collection is an important thread in the fabric of life at the Center. For the artists in residence, the collection serves as a daily challenge and inspiration to the development of their new work, in close physical proximity to artworks that represent many cultures and movements.
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