Skip to main content

Robert Wilson Archives

 Collection
Identifier: RWA

Dates

  • Majority of material found within 1963-2019

Language of Materials

Primary languages of materials include English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Czech, Romanian, Swedish, Dutch, Japanese, and Chinese. Please confer with archivist before requesting materials.

Extent

152 Linear Feet

Biographical Note

Hailed by the New York Times as “a towering figure in the world of experimental theater,” Robert Wilson has a career dating to 1963 that remains in continuous forward motion over fifty years later. His work is exacting and builds on itself, creating a self-referential yet open world straddling theater, opera, and inter-media experience. Born in Waco, Texas on October 4, 1941 to a prominent lawyer and a homemaker, Wilson was given movement therapy to correct a processing disorder by Bird Hoffman, a Waco dance instructor and artist. After dropping out of The University of Texas, Wilson enrolled in the architecture program at Pratt (BA 1966) and settled in New York. In 1967, Wilson founded the Byrd Hoffman School of Byrds to explore ideas of natural movement and collective improvisation, collaborating with figures as diverse as choreographer Jerome Robbins, composer Michael Galasso, and visual artist Paul Thek. The Byrd Hoffman Foundation was chartered in 1970 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit in the state of New York, giving organizational legitimacy to the diverse range of individuals making art at 147 Spring Street in SoHo.

Over the next five years, Wilson’s Byrds created long-form stage and outdoor performances such as The King of Spain and The Life and Times of Sigmund Freud (both 1969), Deafman Glance (1970), KA MOUNTAIN and GUARDenia Terrace: a story about a family and some people changing (1972), The Life and Times of Joseph Stalin (1973) and A Letter for Queen Victoria (1974). The Byrd Hoffman School of Byrds was dissolved in 1975; at that time Wilson began working with professional dancers, actors and musicians, leading to the defining moment of Einstein on the Beach (1976), co-created with composer Philip Glass, poet Christopher Knowles, actor Samuel Johnson and choreographer Andy deGroat (a former Byrd).

While initially generated in a New York milieu, Wilson's work has a larger audience overseas, with France and Germany being particular loci. This Europe-via-New York dichotomy resulted in collaborations with figures as diverse as playwright Heiner Müller, singer Jessye Norman, and composer David Byrne in the 1980s, resulting in works like Hamletmachine, The Forest, Death, Destruction and Detroit, and the ill-fated yet grand multi-national opera The CIVIL warS: A Tree Is Best Measured When It Is Down. By the early 1990s Wilson’s aesthetic solidified through the use of vivid colors, angular and sparse arrangements, coolly harsh lighting and deliberate motion. Long regarded by the critical vanguard, it wasn’t until 1990 that his work gained a more populist expression. The Black Rider: The Casting of the Magic Bullets premiered at Hamburg’s Thalia Theater and brought Wilson together with composer-songwriter Tom Waits and beat writer William S. Burroughs. Proving immensely popular, it was the first to be staged by non-Wilson directors via license.

Today, much of Wilson’s art is grown from the soil of The Watermill Center, an arts lab he founded in eastern Long Island, where since 1993 he has hosted workshops that invite emerging artists to collaborate on his projects and their own performances. The center was completed in 2006 and utilizes the footprint of a former Western Union telecommunications lab, now outfitted with tribal artifacts, objects from Wilson’s productions, and contemporary art. The center also hosts resident artists and educational initiatives throughout the year. The instigation of Watermill also redefined the Byrd Hoffman Foundation as the Byrd Hoffman Water Mill Foundation, thus adding administration of the Watermill Center into the nonprofit’s scope.

In the last quarter-century, Wilson has more frequently mined operatic, theater and literary repertory, albeit to ends that are quite different from the familiar and expected: Wagner’s Ring, Madame Butterfly, l’Incoronazione di Poppea, Die Driegroschenoper, Krapp’s Last Tape, and Hamlet. Wilson has also brought his hand into exhibition design and multimedia installations, including curating rooms in the Louvre in a way that recalls the Watermill Center (Living Rooms, 2013) and working on retrospective exhibitions of sculptor Isamu Noguchi and designer Giorgio Armani, as well as creating works in editions – from Video Portraits to Watermill-inspired cups for Illy Coffee.

Selected Chronology of Robert Wilson's Master Works

1963
Landscapes (1963.LAN, dance)
Slant (1963.SLA, video)
1964
Junk Dances (1964.JNK, theater)
1965
America Hurrah (1965.AMH, dance)
Duricglte & Tomorrow (1965.DUR, theater)
Silent Play (1965.SIL, theater)
The House (1965.HOU, video)
Modern Dance (1965.MOD, dance)
Silent Play (1965.SIL, theater)
1966
Clorox (1966.CLO, dance)
Opus 2 (1966.OPS, dance)
1967
Baby Blood (1967.BAB, dance)
Poles (1967.POL, installation)
1968
Alley Cats (1968.ALC, dance)
Byrd Woman (1968.BYD, theater)
Theater Activity (1968.THE, theater)
The Golden Balls (1968.GOL, dance)
1969
Huaco 1941 (1969.HUA, theater)
The King of Spain (1969.KOS, theater)
Life and Times of Sigmund Freud (1969.LSF, theater)
1970
Deafman Glance (1970.DMG, theater)
Handbill (1970.HAN, theater)
Watermill (video)
1971
Program Prologue Now: Overture for a Deafman (1971.PPN, theater)
Watermill (1971.WAT, theater)
New Ark (1971.NWK, theater)
1972
KA MOUNTAIN AND GUARDENIA TERRACE (1972.KAM, theater)
Overture for KA MOUNTAIN (1972.OKA, theater)
1973
Well Well Well... (1973.WWW, single event)
King Lyre and Lady in the Wasteland (1973.KLL, theater)
Life and Times of Joseph Stalin (1973.LJS, theater)
Byrd Hoffman School of Byrds Spring Concert (1973.BSC, single event)
Well Well Well... (1973.WWW, single event)
1974
A Letter for Queen Victoria (1974.LQV, theater)
Prologue to a Letter for Queen Victoria (1974.PLV, theater)
Dialog/A Mad Man (1974.DMM, theater)
1975
DiaLog 2 (1975.DL2, theater)
DiaLog 3 (1975.DL3, theater)
Dollar ($) Value of Man (1975.DVM, theater)
Solo Reading (1975.SOL, theater)
To Street (1975.TST, theater)
1976
Bob Wilson Solo (1976.BWS, theater)
Einstein on the Beach (1976.EOB, theater)
reconfirmation of reservations (1976.REC, theater)
Spaceman (1976.SPA, video)
1977
DiaLog/Network (1977.DLN, theater)
I was Sitting on My Patio this Guy Appeared I Thought I was Hallucinating (1977.PAT, theater)
1978
Prologue to Deafman Glance (1978.PDG, theater)
Video 50 (1978.V50, video)
1979
Death, Destruction & Detroit (1979.DDD, theater)
Edison (1979.EDI, theater)
1980
From a Theatre of Images (1980.FTI, exhibition)
DiaLog/Curious George (1980.DCG, theater)
1981
The Man in the Raincoat (1981.MAN, theater)
Medea (1981.MED, theater)
Relative Calm (1981.REL, theater)
Shirley Keep Off (1981.SKO, theater)
Deafman Glance (1981.DMG, video)
1982
Great Day in the Morning (1982.GDM, theater)
The Golden Windows (1982.GOL, theater)
Stations (Video 13) (1982.STA, video)
1984
Medee (1984.MEE, theater)
The CIVIL warS: A Tree Is Best Measured When It Is Down (1984.CIV, theater)
1985
King Lear (1985.KIN, theater)
Reading/Performance 1969-1984 (1985.REA, theater)
1986
Transmutation of Archetypes Medea & Parsifal (1986.TRA, exhibition)
Alceste (1986.ALC, theater)
Alkestis (1986.ALK, theater)
Hamletmachine (1986.HAM, theater)
1987
Erinnerung an eine Revolution (1987.ERI, exhibition)
Death, Destruction & Detroit II (1987.DD2, theater)
Parzival (1987.PAR, theater)
Quartett (1987.QUA, theater)
Salome (1987.SAL, theater)
Overture to the Fourth Act of Deafman Glance (1987.ODG, video)
1988
Dreams and Images: The Theatre of Robert Wilson (1988.DRE, exhibition)
Cosmopolitan Greetings (1988.COS, theater)
The Forest (1988.FOR, theater)
Martyre de Saint Sebastien (1988.MSS, theater)
1989
Doctor Faustus (1989.DRF, theater)
De Materie (1989.MAT, theater)
La Nuit d'Avant le Jour (1989.NUI, theater)
Orlando (1989.ORL, theater)
Swan Song (1989.SWA, theater)
The Death of King Lear (1989.DKL, video)
Femme a la Cafetiere (1989. FEM, video)
1990
Choreographie des Designs (1990.CHO, exhibition)
The Black Rider (1990.BLA, theater)
What Room (1990.WRM, theater)
1991
Robert Wilson's Vision (1991.VIS, exhibition)
Grace for Grace (1991.GFG, theater)
Lohengrin (1991.LOH, theater)
The Magic Flute (1991.MAG, theater)
Maladie de Mort (1991.MDM, theater)
Parsifal (1991.PAR, theater)
When We Dead Awaken (1991.WDA, theater)
Mr. Bojangles' Memory (1991.MRB, video)
Orangerie Berlin (1991.ORA, exhibition)
1992
Convidados de piedra (1992.CON, exhibition)
Monuments (1992.MON, exhibition)
Mr. Bojangles; Memory og son of fire (Pompidou) (1992.OGS, exhibition)
wundersame Welt des RW (1992.WRW, exhibition)
Binnenalster Door (1992.BIN, installation)
Alice (1992.ALI, theater)
Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights (1992.LTL, theater)
Dantons Tod (Danton's Death) (1992.TOD, theater)
Don Juan Ultimo (1992.ULT, theater)
Don Juan Ultimo (1992.DON, video)
Trisha Brown WGBH Dance for the Camera (1992.WBH, single event)
1993
Memorie della Terra Desolata (1993.MEM, exhibition)
Monsters of Grace (1993.MOG, exhibition)
Portrait Still Life Landscape (1993.POR, exhibition)
Memory/Loss (1993.MLS, installation)
Alice im Bed (1993.AIB, theater)
Madama Butterfly (1993.MAB, theater)
1994
Disegni de Gibellina (1994.DIS, exhibition)
Three Rooms (1994.THR, exhibition)
Hanjo/Hagoromo (1994.HAN, theater)
The Meek Girl (1994.MEK, theater)
Der Mond im Gras (1994.MIG, theater)
Skin Meat Bones (Wesleyan) (1994.SMB, theater)
TSE (Eliot) (1994.ELI, theater)
Tragedy of Hamlet (1994.TOH, video)
CIRVA (1994.CIR, exhibition)
1995
Dragons and Silk from the Forbidden City (1995.DRA, exhibition)
Erwartung (1995.ERW, theater)
The Rooms of Seven Women (1995.ROO, exhibition)
H.G. (1995.HGW, installation)
Blaubart (1995.BLU, theater)
Hamlet: A Monologue (1995.HAM, theater)
Kitchen Benefit (incl. CW Knee Plays) (1995.KIT, theater)
Persephone (1995.PER, theater)
Snow on the Mesa (1995.SOM, theater)
1996
Galeries Lafayette installation (1996.GAL, exhibition)
Water Jug Boy (1996.WAT, exhibition)
Four Saints in Three Acts (1996.FS3, theater)
Oedipus Rex (1996.OED, theater)
Time Rocker (1996.TIM, theater)
Jessye Norman Sings for the Healing of AIDS (1995.JYN, single event)
G.A. Story (1996.GAS, single event)
1997
Villa Stuck (1997.VIL, exhibition)
Waco Door (1997.WAC, installation)
1. Have you been here before? 2. No this is the first time (1997.LEC, lecture performance)
Pelleas et Melisande (1997.PEM, theater)
Prometeo (1997.PMT, theater)
Rescue (Laurie Anderson's Meltdown (1997.RES, theater)
Saints and Singing (1997.SAS, theater)
Robert Wilson (Octavo) (1997.RWO, publication)
1998
Carpets for a Magical Garden (Vorwerk) (1998.CAR, exhibition)
Relative Light (1998.REL, exhibition)
70 Angels on the Façade: Domus 1928-1998 (1998.DUS, theater)
Lady from the Sea (1998.LFS, theater)
Monsters of Grace (1998.MOG, theater)
Oceanflight (1998.OCE, theater)
White Raven (1998.WHR, theater)
The Wind (1998.WIN, theater)
Wings on Rock (1998.WOR, theater)
A Dream Play (1998.DRE, video)
1999
Paul Landowski: le temple de l'homme (1999.TDH, exhibition)
The Days Before (1999.DYB, theater)
Orphee et Euridice (1999.ORP, theater)
Scourge of Hyacinths (1999.SCO, theater)
Sign of Light: Pittsburgh Cultural Trust (1999.SOL, installation)
2000
Anna Didn't Come Home That Night (2000.ANN, exhibition)
Giorgio Armani (2000.GIO, exhibition)
Robert Wilson on Video (2000.RWV, exhibition)
Tombeau de Suger (2000.TOM, exhibition)
14 Stations (2000.14S, installation)
A House for Edwin Denby (2000.DEN, installation)
Anna's Room (Stanze e Segreti) (2000.SES, installation)
Hot Water (2000.HOT, theater)
POEtry (2000.POE, theater)
Das Rheingold (2000.RHE, theater)
Relative Light (2000.RLI, theater)
Woyzeck (2000.WOY, theater)
2001
Isamu Noguchi (2001.NOG, exhibition)
Wilson Wahn (2001.WIL, exhibition)
Z2 (2001.ZE2, exhibition)
Prometheus (2001.PRM, theater)
Siegfried (2001.SIE, theater)
Three Sisters (2001.THR, theater)
Die Walkure (2001.WAL, theater)
Winterreise (2001.WIN, theater)
2002
Never Doubt I Love (2002.NDL, exhibition)
Aida (2002.AID, theater)
Doctor Caligari (2002.DRC, theater)
Gotterdammerung (2002.GOT, theater)
Osud (2002.OSU, theater)
White Town (2002.WHI, theater)
Louis Vuitton (2002.LOU, installation)
Theater of Drawing (2002.THD, exhibition)
2003
Chair Air (2003.CHA, exhibition)
Chair Chairs (2003.CHC, exhibition)
Moveable Seats (2003.MOV, exhibition)
Isamu Noguchi (2003.NOG, exhibition)
Temptation of St. Anthony (2003.SAE, exhibition)
Come In and Go Out (2003.CGO, installation)
Giorgio Armani: A Retrospective (2003.GIO, installation)
Immaginado Prometeo (2003.IMM, installation)
Die Frau ohne Schatten (2003.FRA, theater)
Temptation of St. Anthony (2003.TSA, theater)
A Faxing Friendship: Robert Wilson and Betty Freeman (2003.FAX, publication)
2004
Connecting Collections (2004, exhibition)
Festival International du Film sur l'Art (2004.FIF, exhibition)
Imagines del Cuerpo (2004.IMA, installation)
2 Lips and dancers and Space (2004.2LI, theater)
Fables a la Fontaine (2004.FLF, theater)
Leonce and Lena (2004.LEO, theater)
I La Galigo (2004.ILA, theater)
My Coney Island Baby: MTA Stillwell Avenue Project (2004.MTA, installation)
2005
Fables a la Fontaine (2005.FLF, exhibition)
Aichi World Expo (Koi Pond) (2005.KOI, exhibition)
Mozart's Geburtshaus (2005.MOZ, exhibition)
Peer Gynt (2005.GYN, theater)
Wintermarchen (2005.WIN, theater)
VOOM Portraits (2005.VOO, video)
2006
Absolute Wilson (2006.ABS, publication)
Louis Vuitton Museum (2006.LVM, exhibition)
2007
Jo Kondo (2007.JOK, theater)
RUMI in the blink of an eye (2007.RUM, theater)
St. John's Passion (2007.SJN, theater)
Threepenny Opera (2007.THR, theater)
2008
Walking: A Landscape Installation (2008.WAL, installation)
Faust (2008.FAU, theater)
Happy Days (2008.HAP, theater)
Everything You Can Think Of Is True (2008.EIT, exhibition)
2009
Der Freischutz (2009.FRE, theater)
Krapp's Last Tape (2009.KLT, theater)
KOOL Dancing in my Mind (2009.KOO, theater)
Orfeo (2009.ORF, theater)
Shakespeare's Sonnets (2009.SON)
Video Portraits (2009.VID, video)
2010
Deafman Glance (2010.DEA, exhibition)
1433 - The Grand Voyage (2010.LGV, theater)
Katya Kabanova (2020.KAT, theater)
The Makropulos Case (2010.MAK, theater)
30th Anniversary of Solidarnosc (2010.SDA, single event)
2011
Mind Gap (2011.MIN, installation)
Lulu(2011.LUL, theater)
Norma(2011.NOR, theater)
Ritorno di Ulisse in Patria, II (2011.RIT, theater)
Watermill Quintet (2011.WAT, theater)
The Space in Back of You (2011.SPA, video)
Robert Wilson from Within (2011.RWW, publication)
Grace for Grace Montblanc (2011.GFM, installation)
Seven Electric Chairs (Kartell) (2011.KAR, installation)
2012
Tapio Wirkkala Park (2012.TAP, installation)
Life and Death of Marina Abramovic (2012.LMA, theater)
John Cage's Lecture on Nothing (2012.LON, theater)
Macbeth (2012.MAC, theater)
Odyssey (2012.ODY, theater)
The Old Woman (2012.OLD, theater)
Peter Pan (2012.PET, theater)
Zinnias (2012.ZIN, theater)
Franz Liszt Via Crucis (2012.FVC, installation)
2013
Living Rooms (2013.LIV, exhibition)
Monsters of Grace II (2013.MG2, radio play)
Das Madchen mit den Schwefelholzern (2013.MAD, theater)
Peter Pan (2013.PET, theater)
2014
1914, (2014.NIN, theater)
Les Nègres (2014.NEG, theater)
Incorazazione di Poppea (2014.POP, theater)
Rhinoceros (2014.RHI, theater)
Cheek to Cheek (2014.CTC, single event)
Illy Café Project (2014.ILY, single event)
2015
Adam's Passion (2015.ADA, theater)
Faust I & II (2015.FAU, theater)
Letter to a Man (2015.LET, theater)
Pushkin's Fairy Tales (2015.PUS, theater)
La Traviata (2015.TRA, theater)
2016
The Tower of Babel (2016.BAB, radio play)
Here Elsewhere (2016.HER, installation)
Noah's Ark(2016.NOA, installation)
Garrincha (2016.GAR, theater)
Endspiel (2016.END, theater)
2017
Black and White (2017.BNW, exhibition)
The Sandman (2017.SAN, theater)
The Edda (2017.EDD, theater)
Luther: Dancing with the Gods (2017.LUT, theater)
2018
Power and Beauty in China's Last Dynasty (2018.PAB, exhibition)
Oedipus (2018.OED, theater)
The Hat Makes the Man (2018.HAT, exhibition)
Balthus Unfinished (2018.BAL, exhibition)
La Trouvere (2018.TRU, theater)
2019
The Jungle Book (2019.JUB, theater)
Mary Said What She Said (2019.MWS, theater)
Otello (2019.OTH, theater)
Turandot (2019.TUR, theater)
A Boy From Texas (2019.ABY, exhibition)
Title
Robert Wilson Archives RWA
Status
new
Author
Clifford Allen; Suzana Chilaka; Elizabeth Kammerer; Viola Kantor; Dana Kautto; Sofia Kofodimos; Eunice Liu; Stephanie Neel; Sam Weinberg
Date
June 1, 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Sponsor
Byrd Hoffman Water Mill Foundation

Repository Details

Part of the Robert Wilson Archives Repository

Contact:
115 West 29th St.
10th Fl.
New York NY 10001 United States