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Biography

Robert Wilson (b. 1941, Waco, TX) has decisively shaped the look of theater and opera through his signature use of light, his investigations into the structure of a simple movement, and the classical rigor of his scenic and furniture design. A prominent figure in Manhattan’s burgeoning avant-garde, in 1976 Wilson turned his attention to large-scale opera and, with Philip Glass, created the monumental Einstein on the Beach. Wilson’s practice is firmly rooted in the fine arts and his drawings, furniture designs, and installations have been exhibited widely. Retrospectives have been presented at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and he has presented installations at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; London’s Clink Street Vaults; and the Guggenheim Museums in New York and Bilbao. His tribute to Isamu Noguchi has been exhibited at the Seattle Art Museum, and his installation of the Guggenheim’s Giorgio Armani retrospective traveled to London, Rome, and Tokyo. Each summer Wilson decamps to the Watermill Center in eastern Long Island—a laboratory for the arts and humanities—which brings together students and experienced professionals in a multi-disciplinary environment dedicated to creative collaboration.

Selected Works

Selected Works Thumbnails
Robert Wilson Snow Owls, triptych (VOOM Portrait), 2006 three 42" plasma screens, custom speakers, three HD media player, artist certificate each screen: 44 3/4 x 24 x 9 inches (113.7 x 61 x 22.9 cm). Edition of 2 ​Music by Robert Wilson and Peter Cerone. Commissioned and produced by VOOM HD Networks.

Robert Wilson
Snow Owls, triptych (VOOM Portrait), 2006
three 42" plasma screens, custom speakers, three HD media player, artist certificate
each screen: 44 3/4 x 24 x 9 inches (113.7 x 61 x 22.9 cm).
Edition of 2
Music by Robert Wilson and Peter Cerone. Commissioned and produced by VOOM HD Networks.

Robert Wilson Alceste, Act I, 1990 charcoal on BFK Rives paper 19 3/4 x 25 5/8 in. (50.2 x 65.1 cm)

Robert Wilson
Alceste, Act I, 1990
charcoal on BFK Rives paper
19 3/4 x 25 5/8 in. (50.2 x 65.1 cm)

Robert Wilson The CIVIL warS, 1983 graphite on paper 36 x 80 inches (91.44 x 203.2 cm)

Robert Wilson
The CIVIL warS, 1983
graphite on paper
36 x 80 inches (91.44 x 203.2 cm)

Robert Wilson Hanging Freud Chair, 1969 wire mesh 35 1/2 x 9 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches (90.2 x 24.1 x 24.1 cm) Edition of 12

Robert Wilson
Hanging Freud Chair, 1969
wire mesh
35 1/2 x 9 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches (90.2 x 24.1 x 24.1 cm)
Edition of 12

Robert Wilson Parsifal, 1985 graphite, colored crayon on paper 30 1/4 x 44 1/8 inches (76.8 x 112.1 cm) framed

Robert Wilson
Parsifal, 1985
graphite, colored crayon on paper
30 1/4 x 44 1/8 inches (76.8 x 112.1 cm) framed

Robert Wilson Queen’s Chair (from dd + d III), 1999 wood, painted green 29 x 10 x 19 inches (73.7 x 25.4 x 48.3 cm) Edition of 2

Robert Wilson
Queen’s Chair (from dd + d III), 1999
wood, painted green
29 x 10 x 19 inches (73.7 x 25.4 x 48.3 cm)
Edition of 2

Robert Wilson Pierre Curie Chair, 1989 rusted steel 47 3/8 x 10 5/8 x 11 7/8 in. (120.3 x 27 x 30.2 cm) ​Edition of 15

Robert Wilson
Pierre Curie Chair, 1989
rusted steel
47 3/8 x 10 5/8 x 11 7/8 in. (120.3 x 27 x 30.2 cm)
Edition of 15

Robert Wilson Deafman Glance: A Video Installation, 1991 video, 6 television monitors with metal shelves, wood chairs and enamel paint, 6 chairs 81 x 20 3/4 x 14 3/4 inches (205.7 x 52.7 x 37.5 cm) each video running time: 26:53 minutes Edition of 1, 1 AP

Robert Wilson
Deafman Glance: A Video Installation, 1991
video, 6 television monitors with metal shelves, wood chairs and enamel paint, 6 chairs
81 x 20 3/4 x 14 3/4 inches (205.7 x 52.7 x 37.5 cm)
each video running time: 26:53 minutes
Edition of 1, 1 AP

Robert Wilson Small Stalin Chairs, 1992 folded lead over armature set of 2, 8" x 20" x 20" Edition of 6, AP

Robert Wilson
Small Stalin Chairs, 1992
folded lead over armature
set of 2, 8" x 20" x 20"
Edition of 6, AP

Robert Wilson Queen Victoria Chairs, from “A Letter from Queen Victoria”, 1974 lead over plywood, brass, electric lights set of two each: 68 1/2 x 47 1/2 x 47 1/2 inches (174 x 120.7 x 120.7 cm) Edition of 6

Robert Wilson
Queen Victoria Chairs, from “A Letter from Queen Victoria”, 1974
lead over plywood, brass, electric lights set of two
each: 68 1/2 x 47 1/2 x 47 1/2 inches (174 x 120.7 x 120.7 cm)
Edition of 6

Robert Wilson Queen Victoria Chairs, 1977 etching ​26 3/4" x 36 1/4" sheet Edition of 20

Robert Wilson
Queen Victoria Chairs, 1977
etching
26 3/4" x 36 1/4" sheet
Edition of 20

Robert Wilson Snow Owls, triptych (VOOM Portrait), 2006 three 42" plasma screens, custom speakers, three HD media player, artist certificate each screen: 44 3/4 x 24 x 9 inches (113.7 x 61 x 22.9 cm). Edition of 2 ​Music by Robert Wilson and Peter Cerone. Commissioned and produced by VOOM HD Networks.

Robert Wilson
Snow Owls, triptych (VOOM Portrait), 2006
three 42" plasma screens, custom speakers, three HD media player, artist certificate
each screen: 44 3/4 x 24 x 9 inches (113.7 x 61 x 22.9 cm).
Edition of 2
Music by Robert Wilson and Peter Cerone. Commissioned and produced by VOOM HD Networks.

Robert Wilson Alceste, Act I, 1990 charcoal on BFK Rives paper 19 3/4 x 25 5/8 in. (50.2 x 65.1 cm)

Robert Wilson
Alceste, Act I, 1990
charcoal on BFK Rives paper
19 3/4 x 25 5/8 in. (50.2 x 65.1 cm)

Robert Wilson The CIVIL warS, 1983 graphite on paper 36 x 80 inches (91.44 x 203.2 cm)

Robert Wilson
The CIVIL warS, 1983
graphite on paper
36 x 80 inches (91.44 x 203.2 cm)

Robert Wilson Hanging Freud Chair, 1969 wire mesh 35 1/2 x 9 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches (90.2 x 24.1 x 24.1 cm) Edition of 12

Robert Wilson
Hanging Freud Chair, 1969
wire mesh
35 1/2 x 9 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches (90.2 x 24.1 x 24.1 cm)
Edition of 12

Robert Wilson Parsifal, 1985 graphite, colored crayon on paper 30 1/4 x 44 1/8 inches (76.8 x 112.1 cm) framed

Robert Wilson
Parsifal, 1985
graphite, colored crayon on paper
30 1/4 x 44 1/8 inches (76.8 x 112.1 cm) framed

Robert Wilson Queen’s Chair (from dd + d III), 1999 wood, painted green 29 x 10 x 19 inches (73.7 x 25.4 x 48.3 cm) Edition of 2

Robert Wilson
Queen’s Chair (from dd + d III), 1999
wood, painted green
29 x 10 x 19 inches (73.7 x 25.4 x 48.3 cm)
Edition of 2

Robert Wilson Pierre Curie Chair, 1989 rusted steel 47 3/8 x 10 5/8 x 11 7/8 in. (120.3 x 27 x 30.2 cm) ​Edition of 15

Robert Wilson
Pierre Curie Chair, 1989
rusted steel
47 3/8 x 10 5/8 x 11 7/8 in. (120.3 x 27 x 30.2 cm)
Edition of 15

Robert Wilson Deafman Glance: A Video Installation, 1991 video, 6 television monitors with metal shelves, wood chairs and enamel paint, 6 chairs 81 x 20 3/4 x 14 3/4 inches (205.7 x 52.7 x 37.5 cm) each video running time: 26:53 minutes Edition of 1, 1 AP

Robert Wilson
Deafman Glance: A Video Installation, 1991
video, 6 television monitors with metal shelves, wood chairs and enamel paint, 6 chairs
81 x 20 3/4 x 14 3/4 inches (205.7 x 52.7 x 37.5 cm)
each video running time: 26:53 minutes
Edition of 1, 1 AP

Robert Wilson Small Stalin Chairs, 1992 folded lead over armature set of 2, 8" x 20" x 20" Edition of 6, AP

Robert Wilson
Small Stalin Chairs, 1992
folded lead over armature
set of 2, 8" x 20" x 20"
Edition of 6, AP

Robert Wilson Queen Victoria Chairs, from “A Letter from Queen Victoria”, 1974 lead over plywood, brass, electric lights set of two each: 68 1/2 x 47 1/2 x 47 1/2 inches (174 x 120.7 x 120.7 cm) Edition of 6

Robert Wilson
Queen Victoria Chairs, from “A Letter from Queen Victoria”, 1974
lead over plywood, brass, electric lights set of two
each: 68 1/2 x 47 1/2 x 47 1/2 inches (174 x 120.7 x 120.7 cm)
Edition of 6

Robert Wilson Queen Victoria Chairs, 1977 etching ​26 3/4" x 36 1/4" sheet Edition of 20

Robert Wilson
Queen Victoria Chairs, 1977
etching
26 3/4" x 36 1/4" sheet
Edition of 20