The Arts Arena is a multidisciplinary non-profit initiative in the visual and performing arts, film, and issues of culture and society. Since its founding in 2007, the Arts Arena has presented nearly 300 cultural events to strengthen connections among artistic disciplines and between the arts and the worlds of business, economics, finance, cultural diplomacy, sciences, technology, and sustainable development. We believe that combining figures and topics across a variety of fields harnesses the power of the arts to positively affect issues of society.
A founding principle of the Arts Arena is to make encounters with the arts and leading artists available to the broadest possible audience regardless of financial resources. To that end, all Arts Arena performances, film screenings, exhibitions, festivals, lectures, and conversations are free of charge and open to the public.
The Arts Arena’s institutional partners include Columbia Global Centers | Paris, the Curtis Institute of Music, the Orléans International Piano Competition, the Yale School of Art, and the Yale School of Music. Arts Arena events take place in Paris and New York, and its publications are available internationally.<br><br><br>
The Arts Arena International Board of Trustees
is chaired by business and cultural leader Lehn Alpert Goetz and formerly by business and civic leader Vin Cipolla. Other officers are Cantwell Faulkner Muckenfuss III, secretary and Robert Knapp, treasurer. Trustees: patron of the arts Shaikha Paula Al-Sabah, financial analyst and philanthropist Elizabeth Belfer, conductor James Conlon; writer and producer Kate Lear, art historian, founder of the Stephen K. and Janie Woo Scher Collection, Stephen K. Scher; artist, curator, and author Robert Storr also sit on the Board.
The French Conseil d’Administration of the Arts Arena
is chaired by special director general of the Banque de France Marc-Olivier Strauss-Kahn and arts writer and journalist Guy Bloch-Champfort, co-Presidents; former Chair of the Vancouver Stock Exchange and the Vancouver Opera Doris Daughney, vice-president; Philippe Delwasse, treasurer; Robert Martinson, Alexandra Hughes, Ana-Maria Pruteanu, and Hildi Santo-Tomas.
Margery Arent Safir, Founder and Artistic Director of the Arts Arena, President and Director of the Arts Arena International, Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature sits on both Boards.
The Arts Advisory Council
brings together distinguished figures in different fields of artistic creation. For a list of members and their biographies, please see Arts Advisory Council, below.
ARTS ADVISORY COUNCIL
Legendary dancer and choreographer, founder of Lucinda Childs Dance Company; principal performer and choeographer for Einstein on the Beach with Robert Wilson and Philip Glass; choreographer and dancer of Dance, with Philip Glass music and Sol LeWitt sets; of Available Light, with John Adams music and Frank Gehry sets. .Since 1981, she has choreographed over thirty works for major ballet companies including the Paris Opéra Ballet, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, and the White Oak Dance Company. She has also worked as choreographer and more recently both choreographer and director for sixteen opera productions including Mozart’s Zaide for La Monnaie in Brussels, Stravinsky’s Le Rossignol et Oedipe, Vivaldi’s Farnace, Wagner’s Lohengrin, conducted by Kent Nagano, Beethoven’s Grande Fugue, Alessandro, voted “Opera of the Year” by Mezzo-TV 2013. In 2014 she directed a new production of John Adams‘ Dr. Atomic for the Opéra du Rhin as well as Jean–Baptiste Lully’s Atys and Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice for Opera Kiel in Germany. her numerous honors, Ms. Childs has received a Bessie Award for Sustained Achievement, an Obie for Best Actress; Officer, then elevated to the highest rank of Commander in France’s Order of Arts and Letters; recipient of the NEA/NEFA American Masterpiece Award. In 2017, she was awarded the Venice Biennale de la Danse Golden Lion Award, and the Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2018, she was the featured artist of France’s most important arts festival, Festival d’Automne, during which time the Centre National de la Danse presented an exhibition of her work and archives, Gallery Thaddeus Ropac showed her drawings along with those of Sol LeWitt, and several of her major works were presented at national theaters.
Harpsichordist, conductor, musicologist, and teacher, William Christie is at the core of one of the most exciting musical adventures of the last 30 years: a renewed appreciation of Baroque music in France, notably of the 17th and 18th-century French repertoire. In 1979, he founded the now world-renowned vocal and instrumental ensemble Les Arts Florissants. His discography includes over 100 recordings, many award-winning, and he is much sought after as a guest conductor, notably at the Glyenbourne and Aix-en-Provence festivals, and regularly at the Berlin Philharmonic. An educator as well, he gives Master Classes at the Julliard School of Music and is the founder of Le Jardin des Voix, an academy for young singers. His magnificent gardens have now become the home of a baroque music festival held each August.
William Christie has been honored in France as Commandeur dans l’Ordre de la Légion d’Honneur as well as Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Letrres. Elected to the Académie des Beaux-Arts, he was officially received under the dome of the Institut de France in January 2010.
Vin Cipolla became the Executive Director of Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall Campaign in 2015, after six years as President of the Municipal Art Society of New York City (MAS). He has served as Chairman, President and CEO across private and public organizations in New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, and London. He is a five-time entrepreneur, an eight-time company CEO, and a two-time CEO of major nonprofits. Most recently, he partnered with renowned designer and architect David Rockwell to form RGV, an incubator and venture company focused on design-driven businesses. Other business leadership includes serving as a President and CEO with Fidelity Capital, and as the founding Chairman and CEO of HNW. Devoted to preservation, conservation, and the arts, he has consistently provided civic leadership in these areas. As President of MAS, he founded the MAS Summit for New York City, which became the city’s leading annual urban design conference. He also so-founded the Alliance for a New Penn Station and founded the Committee for Urban Entrepre-neurship. From 2005 through 2009, he was President and CEO of the National Park Foundation, a Presidential appointment, and then served as the foundation’s Citizen Chairman through 2011, serving two U.S. Presidents and three U.S. Secretaries of the Interior in these positions and producing the first White House summit on parks philanthropy. Among his other charitable endeavors, he was Board Chair and President of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (The ICA) for nine years and led the campaign to build an acclaimed new building on Boston harbor, Boston’s first new museum in 100 years.
Photography critic and scholar, a leading voice in photography criticism, the author of the seminal work The Power of Photography: How Photographs Changed Our Lives, Margaret Bourke-White: A Biography, and editor ofPhotography in Print: Writings from 1816 to the Present, Vicki Goldberg counts over two dozen books to her name and received the 1997 Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography.
Her latest book is Vicki Goldberg: Light Matters, a selection of essays and criticism culled from her writings published over 25 years, including her photography columns for The New York Times. Goldberg’s subjects range from pop imagery to war journalism, from photo-booth portraits to manipulated digital imagery, from the “boredom” of voyeurism to the preponderance of tragic photographs in the news, and her work has been called “of such importance that it should become mandatory reading in the fields of communications, media, photography and sociology” (P. Laytin). She also writes on photography for Vanity Fair, Aperture, and other publications, and was Senior Advisor of the Public Broadcasting System special program “American Photography: A Century of Images” and co-author of the accompanying book.
British-born Jonathan Harvey is one of the world’s most celebrated composers in electro-acoustic music today. He composed music for most every genre: orchestra, chamber, tape, ensemble and electronics, computer-manipulated sounds, music for cello and live and pre-recorded sounds, and music for solo instruments. His music is widely played, toured, and recorded (80 recordings), and he attracted commissions from around the world. Composer/conductor Pierre Boulez first invited Harvey to work at France’s IRCAM in 1980, a sponsorship that resulted in ten realizations at the Institute or for the Ensemble Intercontemporain.
Harvey’s church opera Passion and Resurrection (1981) was the subject of a BBC television film, while his opera Inquest of Love was performed at the famed Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels. He holds honorary doctorates from the universities of Southampton and Bristol, is a member of Academia Europaea, and in 1993 was awarded the prestigious Britten Award for composition.
He published two books in 1999, on inspiration and spirituality respectively. Harvey was a Harkness Fellow at Princeton, Professor of Music, now Honorary Professor of Music at Sussex University, UK; he was also Professor Emeritus of Music at Stanford University, an Honorary Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge, and Composer-in-Residence at the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. He was the winner of the inaugural Giga-Hertz-Award (2007), the world’s largest award for electronic music. In 2008 Harvey’s compositions were premiered at the Berlin Philharmonic and featured at the BBC ’s Proms at Royal Albert Hall, London; the recording of his Body Mandala was selected by The New Yorker’s critic Alex Ross as one of the top 10 CDs of 2008 and won the Gramophone Award for best Contemporary CD of the year.
* Founding member, deceased December 2012
Nobel Prize in Chemistry, jointly with Kenichi Fukui (1981), Frank H. T. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters, Emeritus at Cornell University. In addition to the Nobel Prize, the many honors awarded to Hoffmann throughout his exceptional scientific career include the National Medal of Science and the American Chemical Society’s A. C. Cope Award, which he has received in three different subfields of chemistry, the only person in the society’s history to have done so. The recipient of numerous honorary degrees, Hoffmann is the author of nearly 500 articles for scientific journals. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and of many foreign academies.
In his efforts to reach out to the general public, Hoffmann has participated in the production of a television course entitled The World of Chemistry, shown widely since 1990, and hosts a monthly café program in New York City, Entertaining Science. As a writer, Hoffmann has carved out a space between science, poetry, and philosophy, through many essays, three books of “popularized” science writing, and five collections of poetry. He is also an accomplished playwright: Oxygen, written with fellow chemist Carl Djerassi, has been produced in many countries and published in seven languages; a new play, Should’ve has had Canadian and Italian productions. Hoffmann’s literary work has been included in numerous anthologies, published in literary magazines, and translated widely.
Film director, co-founder of the film production company Merchant Ivory, with producer Ismail Merchant and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. Among his award-winning films are A Room with a View (nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, winner of three; Best Film of the year by the Critic’s Circle Film Section of Great Britain, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, the National Board of Review in the United States; winner of Italy’s Donatello Prize for Best Foreign Language Picture and Best Director), Howards End (nominated for nine Academy awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, winner of three; Best Picture at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards, as well as awards for Best Picture, Best Actress for Emma Thompson, and Best Director for Ivory from the National Board of Review), The Remains of the Day (Directors Guild of America’s highest honor, the D.W. Griffith Award to Ivory; nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director).
Ivory has directed six different actors in Oscar-nominated performances – Vanessa Redgrave, Denholm Elliott, Maggie Smith, Emma Thompson, Joanne Woodward, and Anthony Hopkins – and has been nominated for multiple Golden Globe Awards and Golden Palm; he has twice won the Venice Film Festival and of the London Critics Circle Film Awards. A BAFTA Fellowship recognized Merchant-Ivory’s combination of the best of visual aesthetics with intelligence and a superb choice and direction of actors. Ivory’s most recent film, with Anthony Hopkins and Charolette Gainsbourg, is City of Your Final Destination.
Journalist Dena Kaye, the daughter of performer Danny Kaye and songwriter Sylvia Fine Kaye, has had a multimedia career as a journalist. She was the travel correspondent for the CBS Morning News, and produced and hosted TRAVELTALK, a radio show in New York. She has written for Town & Country, Vogue, European Travel & Life, Travel & Leisure and Architectural Digest, on topics ranging from national parks in Costa Rica, colored diamonds, women in politics, memoirs of growing up in Beverly Hills, unusual houses in India, Michael Douglas, portraits of Krakow, Stockholm and Lebanon. She contributes to Indagare, an on-line, travel magazine, has taught journalism, and is also a published poet. Her book, The Traveling Woman, was published by The Literary Guild, Doubleday and Bantam Books, and has lectured to women’s group and was a spokesperson for Polaroid and American Express Travelers Cheques.
Her father, Danny Kaye was UNICEF’s first ambassador to the world’s children. She produced and appeared in an on-location documentary about UNICEF projects in Guatemala, Nicaragua and Ecuador. She carries on his philanthropic activity today as President of the Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine Kaye Foundation, whose grants have included The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College, New York; The Danny Kaye Theatre at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, with a stove center stage; The Music Garden, in Aspen, Colorado; The Aspen Institute’s Aspen Global Leadership Network; education programs for Jazz Aspen Snowmass and Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York; restoration of the Opera Comique foyer in Paris with World Monuments Fund; a community park in Cairo with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture; the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York, and The Arts Arena in Paris.
She sits on the Board of the National Chairman’s Circle of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York, the Arts Advisory Council of The Arts Arena International, and French Heritage Society.
Founder of the Sean Kelly Gallery, New York. British-born, Kelly is a specialist on new trends in the arts, whether in finances, public-private partnerships, international biennales and art fairs, or internationalization of the art market. A former museum curator, Kelly has established a reputation for his commitment to artists whose work is ambitious, challenging, intellectual, and unconventional, and the Sean Kelly Gallery currently represents artists working in photography, video, performance, installation and painting. Since its inception in 1991, the gallery has mounted some 80 solo and 20 group exhibitions, including the work of nearly 100 artists, and coordinated as many exhibitions at prominent museums worldwide, e.g., Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Kunstwerke, Berlin; Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sapporo, Japan; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Reina Sofia, Madrid; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate Gallery, London; State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. From its initial roster of artists including Marina Abramovic´, Joseph Kosuth, Julião Sarmento, it has grown to encompass James Casebere, Antony Gormley, Callum Innes and Frank Thiel, as well as the estates of Seydou Keïta and Robert Mapplethorpe. Sean Kelly Gallery artists have been included in major international exhibitions such as the Whitney Biennial, Yokohama International Triennial, Carnegie International, and Documenta, and biennials in Istanbul, Moscow, São Paulo, and Sydney; eight gallery artists have been chosen as representatives for the preeminent Venice Biennale.
A partner in the Atlanta office of the law firm Jones Day, where his practice is centered on executive compensation, employee benefits, and family and estate planning, Landon serves as General Counsel of the Woodruff Arts Center and is the primary lawyer for the High Museum of Art, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Alliance Theatre, and Young Audiences.
He is a Trustee of the Atlanta Botanical Garden and the Academy of Medicine, and has previously served as Trustee and Chairman of the Hambidge Center, Trustee of the Atlanta Historical Society, and the Center for Puppetry Arts, and a member of the Board of the Atlanta Symphony. Landon represented the Woodruff Arts Center in its negotiations with the city of Atlanta to build a performing arts facility for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and handled the negotiations and contract with the Louvre in Paris to bring 185 treasures, including a 17th century portrait by Raphael, to the High Museum.
An explorer who has climbed the Matterhorn and Mount Yarigitake in Japan and trekked to the base of Everest and in the volcanoes of Ecuador, he is also a collector of Oriental and Near Eastern calligraphy. Landon is listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World, as well as in The Best Lawyers in America, Georgia Super Lawyers, and Who’s Who Legal 2007.
Deputy editor of ARTnews, the oldest and most widely read international art magazine, Barbara MacAdam has written mostly on topics in contemporary art, ranging from exhibition reviews to profiles of contemporary artists such as sculptors David Rabinowitch, Petah Coyne, Mark di Suvero and Joseph Kosuth, and painters David Reed and Nancy Haynes, to trends in art, including the return of abstraction and the new deconstructivism in sculpture. She has also worked as executive editor of Art + Auction and has been an editor at Review: Latin American Literature and Arts and at New York magazine. She has also written on art, design, and literature for, among others, The New York Times Book Review, The Los Angeles Times Book Review, Newsday, The Wall Street Journal and ID magazine, she is the author of New York’s New and Avant-Garde Art Galleries (written under the name Barbara Stone).
In 2001 GreyLight Sound and the Whitney Museum of American Art produced the CD Dennis Oppenheim in Conversation with Barbara A. MacAdam. A second CD, Eric Fischl, was produced in 2008. MacAdam’s catalogues and brochures include John Phillips and Lawrence Fane (Kouros Gallery); Madeline Denaro (Fort Lauderdale Museum); “Videomix” and “Pop Thru Out” (Arario Gallery in Seoul, Korea); “Elke Solomon,” “If You Were Here,” “Hot + Cool,” “Staging the Real,” and “Drawing the Line” (Gallery w 52); “Monumental Drawing” (Blue Star Art Center, San Antonio, Texas); and Isidro Blasco (Contrasts Gallery, Shanghai).
She has been on the Selection Committees for such honors as the Skowhegan artist awards and is on the Rhode Island School of Design’s Awards Committee for the Athena Awards for excellence in art and design.
Specialist in not-for-profit organizations and partner in the Washington, DC, office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher L L P, where he focuses on the representation of financial institutions. Before joining the firm in 1981, Muckenfuss was Senior Deputy Comptroller for policy at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (1978-81) and Special Assistant to the Director (1974-77) and Counsel to the Chairman (1977-78) of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. In 1979, he received the Department of the Treasury Special Achievement Award, and in 1980, he was awarded the Presidential Rank Award.
He is a founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of City First Bank of D C, a community development bank, and is Chairman of the Board of City First Enterprises, Inc., the non-profit controlling shareholder of City First Bank. He is a former co-Chair of the International Banking and Finance Committee, Section of International Law and Practice, American Bar Association, and a member of the Board of Advisors of the Review of Banking and Financial Services and the Editorial Advisory Board of Electronic Banking Law and Commerce Report. He has served as a member of the Administrative Conference of the United States and as a member of the Core Consultative Group of the Global Bank Insolvency Initiative of the World Bank.
Muckenfuss is a founder and former chair of the Petra Foundation, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Round House Theater. A frequent speaker at financial services conferences and seminars, he is currently a Visiting Lecturer at Yale Law School.
Richard Peña is Director Emeritus of the New York Film Festival, which he headed for 25 years until 2012, and Program Director of the Lincoln Center Film Society. At the Film Society, he organized retrospectives of Michelangelo Antonioni, Sacha Guitry, Abbas Kiarostami, Robert Aldrich, Gabriel Figueroa, Ritwik Ghatak, Kira Muratova, Youssef Chahine, Yasujiro Ozu, Carlos Saura and Amitabh Bachchan, as well as major film series devoted to African, Chinese, Cuban, Polish, Hungarian, Arab, Korean, Japanese Soviet and Argentine cinema. Since 1989, he has been on the faculty of Columbia University, becoming full time in 1996 and being named Professor of Professional Practice in 2003; he has also been a Visiting Professor at Princeton University.He is also currently the co-host of Channel 13’s weekly Reel 13.
Anne L. Poulet is the Director of The Frick Collection in New York, where she was appointed in 2003. For two decades prior, she ran the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston’s department of European Decorative Arts and Sculpture, of which she is currently Curator Emerita. While at the MFA, she was responsible for a number of important acquisitions for the collection and was instrumental in bringing to the museum the Firestone Collection of French silver; the Frits and Rita Markus Collection of European ceramics and enamels; the William A. Coolidge Collection of European paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts; and the Edward Pflueger Collection of European ceramics. In addition, eight catalogues of the permanent collection were published under her direction.
She is also the author of Jean-Antoine Houdon: Sculptor of the Enlightenment (University of Chicago Press). She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, recipient of a Ford Foundation Grant in Museum Training, a Kress Fellow at the National Gallery of Art, recipient of the Iris Foundation Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Decorative Arts, co-founder and vice chairman of the board of The French Heritage Society, and named Chevalier des arts et des lettres by the French government.
Born and bred in New York, Sheikha Paula Al-Sabah is a senior ranking member of the Kuwait Royal Family. Educated at Hunter College and New York University, she holds a degree in child psychology. She left New York with her young diplomat husband, Sheikh Mubarak Jaber Al-Sabah in 1974 and moved to the Middle East. Since then, fostering understanding between East and West countries has been a priority in her life. She is a founding board member of the early learning disability center in the Middle East, which is in Kuwait (Arabic/English), a board member of Takreem, which honors people of the Arab world in fields as diverse as medicine, art, philanthropy and entrepreneurship. Sheikha Paula is also a founding board member of Art Dubai, on the council of the Serpentine Gallery in London, and a board member of Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center in New York. She also sits on the advisory board of Canvas magazine, the leading publication on art and culture in the Middle East and a board committee member of START, which runs art workshops for refugees, orphans and children with special needs across the Middle East and India. She is an avid collector of contemporary art, both Western and Eastern.
Art historian and industrialist, former chair of the Art Department, Brown University, former President and Chief Executive Officer, Scher Chemicals, specialist in late medieval art and Renaissance portrait medals, and frequent lecturer on these subjects. Scher organized the exhibition The Currency of Fame for The Frick Collection, the National Gallery of Art, and the National Gallery of Scotland, and edited and contributed to the catalogue. He also organized the exhibition and wrote the catalogue for The Proud Republic: Dutch Medals of the Golden Age for The Frick Collection and organized and contributed to the catalogue for the exhibition The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century for the Rhode Island School of Design Museum. Scher contributed to Perspectives on the Renaissance Medal and has written numerous articles on these subjects for scholarly journals.
Scher has been a guest curator at The Frick Collection and the National Gallery of Art (Washington, D C), and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York) is on the Visiting Committees of the Departments of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, Medieval Art and the Cloisters, Paper Conservation and Object Conservation. He helped organize and contributed to the catalogue of the exhibition Set in Stone: The Face in Medieval Sculpture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Scher is a member the Council of The Frick Collection, chair of the Saltus Medal Committee and a lecturer for the Graduate Seminar at the American Numismatic Society as well as the founder of the Stephen K. Scher Lecture on the History of the Medal.
Ellen Sorrin is Director of the George Balanchine Trust as well as Managing Director of the New York Choreographic Institute (an affiliate of New York City Ballet). In addition, she is a member of the Ballet Advisory Committee of The Jerome Robbins Trust. Previously she was Director of Education and Director of Special Projects at New York City Ballet. She is President of The Hemsley Lighting Programs, a foundation dedicated to lighting design students entering the professional arena. She is also the author of Food Matters, a blog concerned with food and family traditions.
She has produced in-house film tributes for New York City Ballet on George Balanchine, Tanaquil Le Clercq, Lincoln Kirstein and Jerome Robbins. She produced a short film for the CityArts series PBS affiliate WNET/Thirteen about costume maker Barbara Matera. In 1987, prior to coming to NYCB, she produced Dancing for Life, the New York dance community’s response to AIDS, directed by Jerome Robbins. Before working in the arts, she was a classroom teacher in the New York City Public School system for six years, heading up an alternative classroom for the Drug Abuse Prevention Program, a concept that led to the creation of charter schools to address children who were served best in smaller classes with more attention to their psychological needs.
Dean of the Yale University School of Art and Professor of painting printmaking; Consulting Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Director of the 2007 Venice Biennale, the first American-born curator invited to assume that position. Previously he served as a curator and then as senior curator in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, from 1990 to 2002, where, among other exhibitions, he organized retrospectives of Elizabeth Murray, Gerhard Richter, Max Beckmann, Chuck Close, Tony Smith and Robert Ryman, in addition to coordinating the Projects series. In 2002 he was named the first Rosalie Solow Professor of Modern Art at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and has also taught at CUNY Graduate Center, Bard Center for Curatorial Studies, The Rhode Island School of Design, Maryland Institute and College of Art, Tyler School of Art, New York Studio School, and Harvard University.
A frequent lecturer in the United States and abroad, since 1981 he has been a contributing editor at Art in Americaand writes often for Artforum, Parkett, Art Press (Paris), and Frieze (London). Storr has written numerous catalogues, articles, and books, including the forthcoming Intimate Geometries: The Work and Life of Louise Bourgeois. He is the recepient of a Penny McCall Foundation Grant for painting, a Norton Family Foundation Curator Grant, and honorary doctorates, as well as awards from the American Chapter of the International Association of Art Critics, a special AICA award for Distinguished Contribution to the Field of Art Criticism, an ICI Agnes Gund Curatorial Award, and the Lawrence A. Fleischman Award for Scholarly Excellence in the Field of American Art History from the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art.
In 2000, the French government named him Chevalier des arts et des lettres, promoting him in 2010 to the rank of Officier.
Perhaps the world’s foremost avant-garde theater artist, Robert Wilson ranges across opera, stage works, visual arts, video, lighting, furniture and set design in his pursuit of astounding Gesamtkunstwerk creations. Susan Sontag wrote of his career, “It has the signature of a major artistic creation. I can’t think of any body of work as large or as influential.”
Wilson’s legendary operatic work with Philip Glass, Einstein on the Beach, upended conventions of traditional operatic form, and was called by The Washington Post perhaps the most influential artistic creation of the 20th century. Wilson has also left his mark on masterworks: The Magic Flute, Madama Butterfly, Pélleas et Mélisande, Macbeth, The Threepenny Opera, and in theater, Hamlet, Orlando, Quartett, Happy Days, Lulu, and premiering in April 2013, Peter Pan.
He has collaborated regularly with other artists of great renown, including Tom Waits, William Burroughs, David Byrne, Suzushi Hanayagi, Laurie Anderson, Heiner Müller, Lou Reed, Jessye Norman. Deathman Glance, King of Spain, Letter to Queen Victoria, The Black Rider, Time Rocker are among his earlier astounding works, with I La Galigo, Shakespeare’s Sonnets and The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic among the most recent.
As an actor, he has taken on the roles of Hamlet, Faust, and Krapp. Outside of the theater, his video portraits have been acclaimed around the world, his paintings, drawings and sculptures have been exhibited in galleries and major museums, he has created installations at the Guggenheim and elsewhere. In each of these areas of art, he has received the highest honors: The Golden Lion of the Venice Biennale for sculpture, the Institute Honor from the American Institute of Architects, a Bessie, Obie, and Desk Award for direction, the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize for lifetime achievement; election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters; the Smithsonian Institute’s National Design Award, the French government’s recognition as Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres, its highest rank for cultural achievement.
In 1992 Wilson founded the Watermill Center as a laboratory for performance, allotting residencies to young artists and opening its doors to the local community for lectures and performances.