The invitation for the Watermill Center’s twentieth annual summer benefit read, “Dress code: Sinful fun.” With instructions like that, Saturday night’s Devil’s Heaven fete was bound to be one hell of a party. (A surprise appearance by Lady Gaga certainly upped the ante, too.) As East Enders arrived at the arts complex, they were greeted by a long tiki-torch-lit pathway and a pair of nude, blue-painted performers. Once the likes of Hugh Jackman, Cindy Sherman, and Winona Ryder made it up the stairs and teetered through the entryway (waiters were on hand to escort the high-heeled ladies across the uneven stone flooring), they found eight acres of woods alive with art.
“Being nude and painted, when everyone is staring at you and you aren’t moving, that’s, like, trippier than any dream you could have,” said Genevieve Jones as she paraded through the forest. “It’s like a naked dream on acid.” Rick Owens, for his part, was completely unfazed by the avant-garde getups. “Is there a theme? I had no clue. I am completely innocent,” said the designer, who was in New York, on a “spontaneous trip,” for the first time in six years.
The evening took a twist when photographers swarmed near the tented area where the art for the silent auction was on display. When the flashes finally stopped, they revealed Marina Abramovic, Watermill Center founder Robert Wilson, and Lady Gaga. “I hear she’s going to perform!” said one female guest. The rumors about an impromptu concert turned out to be wrong, but she was one of the live auction’s most enthusiastic buyers, purchasing an Abramovic piece for $60,000 and a Dieter Meier print for $20,000. During dinner, Gaga revealed that she’s doing a project with Wilson at the Louvre and that Abramovic is going to coach her. Surely it was no coincidence that the text on the bottom of the Meier print said, “Hello my friend I am back and well.”