Completed in 2006, The Watermill Center combines performance and rehearsal sites with working and communal living spaces. Its flexible and multi-purpose interiors house formal and informal performance spaces, an extensive reference library, kitchen/dining facilities and a dormitory. The Watermill Center Collection of art and artifacts is exhibited throughout the 20,000+ square foot building. The Center is situated on over ten acres of wooded and landscaped grounds in a unique, rural setting.

For rental inquires, please email elka.rifkin@watermillcenter.org

The Center does not provide a traditional theater or studio environment. The main studio spaces have black-stained hardwood floors, white walls, and many windows. There is no separation between studio and gallery or living and working spaces, and The Watermill Collection is carefully curated throughout The Center. Artists have the unique opportunity to work amongst these museum pieces and to work with The Center staff to re-curate their environments. Watermill encourages artists to engage with the collection and architecture, and to explore all facets of The Center, inside and out.

FIRST FLOOR

  • Epoxy over cement floors, unless otherwise noted
  • Garage gallery (8′ h x 72′ l x 28′ w [2.5m h x 22m l x 8.5m w)
  • Rolling garage doors (heated)
  • Can be used for workspace, office space, and receptions
  • Research library with print and audio-visual materials
  • Fully-equipped kitchen
  • Dining room (capacity: 50)
  • Outdoor dining courtyard (capacity: 100)
  • Public bathrooms with showers
  • 3-in-1 handicap accessible
  • Laundry room with four washers and dryers
  • Collection archive containing artifacts, objects, and audio-visual materials

SECOND FLOOR

  • Rehearsal Room (18′ h x 54′ l x 28′ w [5.5m h x 16.5m l x 8.5m w)
  • Marley dance floor is available to lay over hardwood floors
  • Two small studios/galleries
  • Office (desk space for 2-4)
  • Dormitory (sleeping capacity: 8; additional 4-6 beds available offsite)
    • Two public shower rooms attached to dormitory

THIRD FLOOR

  • Master residence for staff use only
  • Two smaller studios/galleries
  • Office (desk space for 2-4)

Surrounding The Watermill Center’s facility are over ten acres of verdant lawns, pebbled terraces, gardens and outdoor stages. In past years, support of our Garden Campaign has enabled us to design and execute rooftop, meditation and sculpture gardens for our artists and most recently a wildflower meadow in honor of Clementine Hunter.

The Watermill Collection is much more than a static accumulation of artifacts. It is very much a living entity that is one of the many artistic media in which Founder and Artistic Director Robert Wilson explores the relationship between the human body and its surrounding space. In this sense, collecting is an essential component of Wilson’s artistic work, which draws upon a vast and continuously expanding inventory comprising images, objects, texts, music, and gestures. Over the past fifty years, the Collection has grown to almost 8,000 pieces and still expands at a rate of approximately 300 pieces every year.

The Collection houses pieces from various 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 such as Carlo Bugatti, Gerrit Rietveldt, Charles Eames, Gio Ponti, Shiro Kuramata, as well as original designs by Robert Wilson himself. However, its main strength lies in the careful juxtaposition of diverse objects from different cultures and historical periods, emphatically transcending the distinction between high and low culture, between art and the everyday. Each 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 International Summer Program participants and the Fall/Spring 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 various cultures and movements.

The Watermill Center Collection is curated by Noah Khoshbin.

The Watermill Center Library is open to researchers, artists, students and visitors year-round. The print collection is comprised of approximately 8,000 titles, including bound volumes, exhibition catalogs and periodicals. A singularly unique and unifying thread that connects the varied resources is the artistic direction of Robert Wilson.

The Library collection allows one to gain a better understanding of traditional and contemporary art-making practices from around the world. The cultural diversity of subjects range from ancient art to modern and contemporary visual art, architecture, design, and performance. Special collection focal points include theater, dance, and music; tribal arts of Africa, the Americas, Asia and the South Pacific; and photography. The library contains many rare books and limited editions, as well as international publications on Western and non-Western art. Alongside materials on Robert Wilson and his collaborators, one finds research books used by Wilson; these inform a visual vocabulary found in his productions, such as Einstein on the Beach and the CIVIL wars.

To explore our book catalog, click here.

The Watermill Center Study Library is open to the public on Tuesdays, 12:00pm-5:00pm, September through June. If you have any questions about the library or to schedule an appointment please contact our Librarian at library@watermillcenter.org

Our new Library of Inspiration initiative is a digital project which supports artistic practice and engagement at The Center. This visual research tool allows resident artists and researchers to explore Watermill’s collection of art and artifacts; documentation of new works created on site; the archives of artist Robert Wilson and his collaborators; and the supporting research collection of books. Dynamic linking and tagging allow patrons to note creative relationships and document their own research process. Access to the Library of Inspiration is limited to Watermill artists, collaborators and visitors on site in the library.

To learn more, please contact our Librarian at library@watermillcenter.org.

The Archives of Robert Wilson, the Byrd Hoffman Water Mill Foundation and the Watermill Center provide a unique paper, photographic, audio-visual and digital record of artistic and administrative activities, not to mention the arc of experimental performance and opera in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The bulk of these records span from 1965 through 2010, from Wilson’s earliest New York performances to recent Center residencies and international exhibitions. The archives are housed primarily in New York City and are accessible to scholars and collaborators by appointment only. Please provide the archivist with 48 hours’ response time for any online request.

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