Described by The New York Times as “a towering figure in the world of experimental theatre,” Robert Wilson’s (b. 1941) influential body of work employs a diverse range of media including dance, movement, lighting, sculpture, music and text, earning widespread acclaim from audiences and critics around the world. A native Texan, Wilson was born in Waco and attended the University of Texas before pursuing art and architecture at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. In addition to his academic education Wilson apprenticed with painter George McNeil in Paris and in Arizona with architect Paolo Solari. After obtaining his degrees, he founded The Byrd Hoffman School of Byrds in New York City where he worked and performed with fellow artists and directed his first major productions, The King of Spain (Anderson Theater, 1969) and The Life and Times of Sigmund Freud (Brooklyn Academy of Music, 1969). In 1976 Wilson collaborated with composer Philip Glass to write and direct the landmark opera, Einstein on the Beach, after which Wilson increasingly worked with European theater and opera houses.
Among his many creative partners are artists, writers and musicians such as Heiner Müller, Tom Waits, Susan Sontag, Laurie Anderson, William Burroughs, Lady Gaga, Lou Reed, Jessye Norman and Anna Calvi. Wilson’s reputation for innovating highly acclaimed theatrical products is rooted in his fine art practice. His drawings, paintings and sculptures are frequently presented internationally in both solo and group showings and are held in private and public collections worldwide. Major exhibitions include the Museum of Fine Arts Boston (1991); the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris (1991); and the Instituto de Valencia de Arte Moderno (1992). Recent exhibitions in 2022 include Museum and Contemporary Design and Applied Arts in Lausanne Switzerland, MDFG in Brooklyn, NY and the Art Gallery of South Australia. Since the early 1990s, Wilson has hosted workshops for students and creative professionals at The Watermill Center, an interdisciplinary laboratory for the Arts in Water Mill, New York of which he is the founder and Artistic Director. He is the recipient of two Rockefeller and two Guggenheim fellowships and has been honored with numerous nominations, appointments, and lifetime achievement awards. In 1997, April 18th was declared “Robert Wilson Day” by the legislature in the State of Texas.