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What's a Little Mud Among Friends?

Lots of Rain, But No Washout at the Watermill Center's Annual Benefit

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Kembra Pfahler   
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With a full schedule of art, shopping, and film events in the Hamptons this weekend, the fashion set made its way out east despite the wet weather forecast. The crowds stayed mostly dry at the 15th annual Super Saturday charity event, which raised over $3.6 million for ovarian cancer research. But just as the likes of Cindy Sherman, Lou Reed, and Rufus Wainwright began arriving at the Watermill Center for its summer benefit, The Big Bang, it started to pour.

"The rain is a little unfortunate, right?" said Klaus Biesenbach as he made his way up a long entryway lit with tiki torches and marked by a large-scale recreation of Paul Thek's work Big Bang Painting. The MoMA curator's favorite installation of the evening—an exhibition of the work of the late artist Mike Kelley—was on view inside, but there were plenty of additional distractions on the the six-acre site. Kembra Pfahler and a crew of other almost-naked women dipped in various shades of paint performed in front of Paul McCarthy's 60-foot Butt-plug sculpture, and Janice Lancaster Larsen rolled in the mud in what was originally a white wedding gown.

"I hear if you're looking for something to do, you're welcome to join her in there," someone remarked as Harry Brant, Michelle Harper, and Bob Colacello huddled around the performance artist. Other guests opted to brave the storm, traipsing through the surrounding forest barefoot to take in the site-specific works of over 70 artists. Highlights of the live auction, which was conducted over dinner, included a rare Willem de Kooning drawing and a hand-painted mask from Robert Wilson's production of The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic. Talk about going out with a bang; the party raised over $1.5 million for the arts center.

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