Robert Wilson

Robert Wilson

Born in Waco, Texas, Wilson is among the world’s foremost theater and visual artists. His works for the stage unconventionally integrate a wide variety of artistic media, including dance, movement, lighting, sculpture, music and text. His images are aesthetically striking and emotionally charged, and his productions have earned the acclaim of audiences and critics worldwide.

After being educated at the University of Texas and Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute, Wilson founded the New York-based performance collective “The Byrd Hoffman School of Byrds” in the mid-1960s, and developed his first signature works, including Deafman Glance (1970) and A Letter for Queen Victoria (1974-1975). With Philip Glass he wrote the seminal opera Einstein on the Beach (1976). In 1998 the renowned production of Bluebeard's Castle & Expectation, with Jessye Norman in the role of the Woman, premiered at the Salzburg Festival.

Wilson’s artistic collaborators include many writers and musicians such as Heiner Müller, Tom Waits, Susan Sontag, Laurie Anderson, William Burroughs, Lou Reed, Jessye Norman and Anna Calvi. He has also left his imprint on masterworks such as Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape, Brecht/Weill’s Threepenny Opera, Debussy’s Pelléas et Melisande, Goethe’s Faust, Homer’s Odyssey, Jean de la Fontaine’s Fables, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Verdi’s La Traviata and Sophocles’ Oedipus.

Wilson's drawings, paintings and sculptures have been presented around the world in hundreds of solo and group showings, and his works are held in private collections and museums throughout the world. Wilson has been honored with numerous awards for excellence, including a Pulitzer Prize nomination, two Premio Ubu awards, the Golden Lion of the Venice Biennale, and an Olivier Award. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as the German Academy of the Arts, and holds 8 Honorary Doctorate degrees. France pronounced him Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters (2003) and Officer of the Legion of Honor (2014); Germany awarded him the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit (2014).

Wilson is the founder and Artistic Director of The Watermill Center, a laboratory for the Arts in Water Mill, New York.

Awards

2014


Officer of the Legion of Honor, awarded by the President of the French Republic


Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit, awarded by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany


Goethe Medal: Lifetime Achievement Award from the Goethe-Institut. Weimar, Germany


Manchester Theatre Award: Set Design for The Old Woman


Artis Bohemiae Amicis Award for the promotion of Czech culture




2013


Received honorary doctorate from La Sorbonne. Paris, France


Paez Medal of Art, awarded by the Venezuelan American Endowment for the Arts


Olivier Award: Best New Opera for Einstein on the Beach


Received honorary doctorate from The City University of New York. New York, America



2012


International Design and Communication Award



2010


Der Steiger Award. Bochum, Germany


Received honorary doctorate from the American University of Paris



2009


Hein Heckroth Prize – Lifetime Achievement for Scenic Design. Giessen, Germany


Honoree at the Orange County Museum of Art's Art of Dining 2009 Ultramodern. Newport Beach, America


Culture e Fede. Ceremony to honor artists, including Robert Wilson, presided over by Pope Benedict XVI. Sistine Chapel, Vatican City


Honoree at Alliance Française with Pierre Bergé. New York, America


Richard B. Fisher Award for Quartett. Brooklyn Academy of Music, NY, America


Jerome Robbins Award. New York, America



2008


Received honorary doctorate from University of Bucharest, Romania


Best Theater Production in Czech Republic for The Threepenny Opera



2007


Rosa d'Oro awarded by David Hockney. Palermo, Italy



2006 


Drama Desk Award Nominee for Outstanding Director of a Play for Peer Gynt; Best Costume Design for Jacques Reynaud; Best “Theatrical Experience”. New York City, America



2005


Louise T. Blouin Foundation Award. New York City, America


Pratt Legends Honoree, Pratt Institute. New York, America


American Innovator Award, The Japan Society. New York City, America


Texas Medal of Arts, Texas Cultural Trust Council. Austin, Texas, America


Received honorary doctorate from University of Toronto



2003


Commander of the Order of Arts and Letter, awarded by the President of the French Republic. France


Backstage West Garland Award: Best Lighting Design for Woyzeck. Los Angeles, America



2002


Thomas Jefferson Award, American Institute of Architects, Houston, America


"Politika" Grand Prix Award Belgrade International Theater Festival (BITEF) for Woyzeck. Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro



2001


National Design Award, Smithsonian Institution, National Design Museum


Houston Opera Gala


Reumert Award for Best Set Design for Woyzeck



2000


Grand Prix de la Critique 1999-2000: Meilleur Spectacle Étranger [Best Foreign Production] for Dream Play, Syndicat de la Critique Dramatique et Musicale. Paris, France


Honored at the Mary Buckley Endowed Scholarship Dinner, Pratt Institute. New York, America


American Academy of Arts and Letters



1999


Wilhelm Hansen Honorable Prize. Copenhagen, Denmark


Médaille d’Argent de la Foundation de l’Académie d’Architecture. Paris, France


Honorary Award, 11th International Istanbul Theatre Festival


Pushkin Prize, Moscow, Taganka Theater



1998


Harvard Excellence in Design Award. Cambridge, Massachusetts, America



1997


Tadeusz Kantor Prize. Crakow, Poland


April 18th is Robert Wilson Day by the Texas State Legislature


B.Z. Arts Award "Berliner Bär". Berlin, Germany



1996


Premio Europa per il Teatro. Taormina, Italy


Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize. New York, America



1995


Best Director, International Widescreen Festival for The Death of Molière


Premio Abbiati, Italian Theater Critics Award for Hanjo/Hagoromo


Texas Artist of the Year, Art League of Houston


Guest of Honor, American Friends of the Paris Opera and Ballet, Gala Dinner



1994


Premio Ubu, Best Foreign Performance for Alice


Received honorary doctorate from California College of Arts and Crafts. California, America



1993


Golden Lion (First Prize in Sculpture), 45th Venice Biennale for Memory/Loss installation



1992


Premio Ubu, Best Foreign Performance for Dr. Faustus Lights the Lights



1991


Received honorary doctorate from the Pratt Institute. New York, America


Jack I. and Lillian Poses Creative Arts Award at Brandeis University, for Alternative and Multidiscipline Creative Art Forms. Massachusetts, America


Theatertreffen, Festspiele Berlin for The Black Rider



1990


German Theater Critics Award, Best Production of the Year for The Black Rider


Special Mention by the Jury, "Festival du Film d'Art" for La Femme à la Cafetière video



1989


Grand Prize, Barcelona Biennale Festival of Cinema Art for La Femme à la Cafetière video


Premio Abbiati, Best Production of the Year, Italian Theater Critics Award for Dr. Faustus


Grand Prize for Best Event, Biennial of São Paulo for Parzival and Hamletmachine furniture and drawings


New York Public Library Lion of the Performing Arts



1988


Institute Honor, The American Institute of Architects


Premio Mondello, Award for Theater



1987


American Theatre Wing Design Award, Noteworthy Unusual Effects for the CIVIL warS–Rome Section


Bessie Award for the CIVIL warS–Knee Plays


Le Sydicat de la Critique Musicale Award for Best Foreign Play for Alcestis


Theatertreffen, Berliner Festspiele for Hamletmachine


Skowhegan Medal for Drawing, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture



1986


Sole nominee, Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the CIVIL warS (no prize awarded that year)


Picasso Award, Malaga Theater Festival for Overture to the Fourth Act of Deafman Glance


Obie Award for Direction for Hamletmachine



1985


Franklin Furnace Award for Einstein on the Beach



1984


Theatertreffen, Berliner Festspiele for the CIVIL warS–Cologne Section


First Prize, San Sebastian Film and Video Festival for Stations



1982


Der Rosenstrauss for The Golden Windows


Harvard University Citation for The Golden Windows



1979


Best Production of the Year, German Critics Award for Death Destruction & Detroit


First Prize, German Press Award for Death Destruction & Detroit



1977


Le Sydicat de la Critique Musicale Award for Best Musical Theater for Einstein on the Beach


Grand Prize, BITEF (Belgrade) for Einstein on the Beach


Lumen Award for Design for Einstein on the Beach



1975


Maharam Award for Best Set Design for a Broadway Show for A Letter for Queen Victoria


TONY Nomination for Best Score and Lyrics for A Letter for Queen Victoria



1974


OBIE Special Award Citation for Direction for The Life and Times of Joseph Stalin



1971


Drama Desk Award for Direction for Deafman Glance



1970


Le Syndicat de la Critique Musicale Award for Best Foreign Play, 1970-71 for Deafman Glance


Solo exhibitions

2020
Der Messias, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris Marais, France
Robert Willson: Videos and Drawings. Bernier/Eliades Gallery. Brussels
Der Messias - Zeichnungen. Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg, Austria
Noah's Ark. Van Cleef & Arpels. Opera as the World / Centre Pompidou-Metz. Paris, France

2019
A Boy From Texas. Cristina Grajales Gallery at Design Miami. Miami, USA
Le Violon d’Ingres. Villa Medici, the French Academy in Rome. Rome, Italy
Constellation. Glasstress. Venice, Italy
Balthus Unfinished. Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts. Lausanne, Switzerland

2018
The Hat Makes The Man. Max Ernst Museum, Brühl, Germany
Power and Beauty in China’s Last Dynasty. Minneapolis Institute of Art. Minneapolis, USA

2017
Black and White. Galeria Luisa Strina. São Paulo, Brazil
Tales. Villa Panza. Milano, Italy

2016
Glass Works. Laffanour Galerie Downtown. Paris, France

2015
Video Portraits of Lady Gaga. Bernier/Eliades Gallery. Athens, Greece

2014
Tropical Spring. Hiram Butler Gallery. Texas, USA
Video Portraits of Lady Gaga. Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac. Paris, France

2012
Einstein on the Beach. Paula Cooper Gallery. New York, USA