For Marlene Dietrich in Dr. No’s Ludovico-Clinic (Dr. Baby’s Erzland), the acclaimed German artist Jonathan Meese turned the elegant interior and grounds of The Watermill Center into one of his most spectacular site-specific installations. Realized on-site in July 2008, and exhibited for only two weeks, the installation mixed the clean aesthetic of Robert Wilson’s Watermill space and the eclectic Watermill art collection with Meese’s drawings, paintings, found objects, sculptures and multichannel video installations.
In a full-page Sunday Arts & Leisure feature on the installation, The New York Times recently said that Meese “follows his impulses in a way most adults wouldn’t dare.” To create the ‘motley assemblage,’ Meese brought to Watermill “baby bottle nipples, a music box that played ŒTwinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” when he wound it, glossy photos of the actress Scarlett Johansson and, yes, paints and brushes.”
The current exhibition at BHWF re-imagines Meese¹s ever-changing assemblage of cult relics by juxtaposing documentary installation photographs from Watermill with original Meese works and his found objects. By re-contextualizing many of these pieces in a more traditional gallery setting, the decidedly more claustrophobic space takes on unexpected surrealist intonations – playing with scale, representation and the experience of seeing a whole exhibition dissected anew.
In its recent past, The Watermill Center and Robert Wilson have invited some of the world’s most exciting artists to create site-specific installations for the Annual Watermill Summer Benefit: Anita Dube, Os Gemeos, Cao Fei, Tania Bruguera, Baba Anand, William Pope L. and Andrey Bartenev, to name a few. Since their engagements at Wilson¹s laboratory for performance art, all of these artists have gone on to garner international acclaim.
The Meese exhibition in DUMBO is the third in a new series of shows BHWF will present in its DUMBO location. In four to six exhibitions per year, BHWF intends to create a New York showcase for new creative work coming out of its artistic programs. It will also occasionally focus on the work of its artistic director, Robert Wilson.