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WATER MILL MYSTERY SOLVED
The Watermill Center gala had our reporter
scratching her head



For years, The Watermill Center’s Annual Gala has been a mystery to me:

Like other things Hamptons that I find baffling: What’s the secret in the sauce that makes Pierre’s french fries so dang good? Why do people build McMansions on disproportionately-sized lots? What the hell is The Hamptons List? And how do I get on it? And, so...what goes on at founder Robert Wilson’s annual soiree?
The gala, which takes place every summer in a secluded ten-acre enchanted forest, has been described to me as: “Edgy,” “Avant-garde,” “Downright strange,” And…the absolutely best party of the summer!

And every year, there are the requisite nude people. Were they performance artists or patrons?

I had to know what went on at this soiree. But I never felt I was cool enough to go. Until Saturday night.

The weirdness began the moment I walked into Time Bomb: The 25th Annual Watermill Center Summer Benefit honoring the late Pierre Bergé on July 28th. I just didn’t quite get some things I saw:
– A woman (I think) with splayed legs, seemed to have fallen headfirst into a fountain of Slurpee colored...cotton candy?
– A diapered man, who appeared to be caught in some sort of twine spider web.
– A woman diligently digging…a grave?
– The prom-dress clad dudes seemingly blinded by virtual reality goggle helmets (I think that’s what they were).
– A guy wearing a pig mask in a fiberglass cage firing paint bombs at guests from what appeared to be a semi-automatic assault rifle.
Some things, though, I did understand:
– That even though Jay McInerney and Anne Hearst were perusing the silent auction items, I knew it was not a good idea for me to bid on the $100,000 Lichtenstein. Or the Cipriani-catered dinner in one’s home with Marina Abramovic (mandatory prep: three day abstinence from sex, TV, and Trump talk).
– I got that Campion Platt, there with his wife Tatiana and their kids, was joking when he told me that every year he buys art here “by the square inch.”
– And most important, that the Byrd Hoffman Watermill Foundation raises a heck of a lot of money in support of emerging artists worldwide with scholarships for their year-round residency program.

And as I walked out of the party, still contemplating the meaning of “The Broad Gave Me My Face But I Can Pick My Own Nose” installation and reflecting that maybe I wasn’t as cool as I thought I was at the start of the evening, I overheard several partygoers complain that the party wasn’t weird enough this year.

Well, it was weird enough for me. And cuckoo crazy fun, too.


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