Strippers, Socialites, Animals, and Art at Watermill Benefit

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What? No one was naked, covered in fake blood, and pouring milk on herself at party this weekend? Photo: Patrick McMullan


Robert Wilson's Watermill Center is kind of like a summer camp for young artists, and its annual benefit is perhaps the most amazingly odd party we attend. Saturday night was no exception. We walked into cocktails to find a naked and rather chunky woman blindfolded and covered in fake blood; as the evening went on she occasionally broke glasses of milk on the ground. The woods nearby were filled with plasma television screens showing Wilson's video portraits of various animals — a toad, a porcupine, a shaggy dog — and as you walked along the path, people dressed as incredibly stylish animals would scatter or approach at your every step, until you ended your walk at a group of Tibetan drummers. (At cocktail hour last year, there were people in skintight black and white spandex suits with giant globes attached to their heads and limbs.)

Dinner was even more bizarre, with artist Andrey Bartenev hosting a contest to determine the new mascot of the center. A lion eating a Playboy Bunny won. Auctioneer Simon de Pury sold a ton of art, including one that he, oddly, bid on himself: De Pury joined the fray for an iconic image of Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffany's that had been burned and then framed. "I was very clear about what I was doing, and since it's for charity, I felt like I was just helping drive up the price," De Pury told us. "And in any case, I lost." —Jada Yuan

See pictures and quotes from Victor & Rolfe, Dita Von Teese, Bill Paxton, and more at our Interactive Party Lines.