Robert Wilson (American, b.1941) is well-known for his avant-garde style spanning a range of artistic media, from choreography to directing. Wilson was born in Waco, TX. He received his business administration degree from the University of Texas before moving to Brooklyn in 1963 to study architecture at the Pratt Institute.
After the foundation of his experimental performance company, the Byrd Hoffman School of Byrds, Wilson began to make his imprint in the artistic world with works such as The Life and Times of Sigmund Freud. He solidified his creative status with his collaboration with Philip Glass on the opera Einstein on the Beach in 1976. Wilson is best known for the extremity of his work, and he has been regarded as "a towering figure in the world of experimental theater" by The New York Times. Wilson emphasizes the importance of innovative forms of lighting and movement to appeal to the senses of his audiences. The emotional power and unconventional qualities of his pieces have earned him a plethora of honors, including two Guggenheim Fellowship awards, the Golden Lion for sculpture from the Venice Biennale, and selection to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Wilson has collaborated with numerous writers and musicians, from Lou Reed to Rufus Wainwright, and has contributed to multiple masterpieces, such as Madame Butterfly and The Magic Flute. In 2006, Katharina Otto-Bernstein released Absolute Wilson, a documentary on Wilson and his personal mission as an artist. Recently, the artist's 70th birthday was celebrated with the release of the fragrance Black Rider, inspired by Wilson's own flair of "mystery" and "fantasy."
Currently, Wilson is featured in the first of the Times Square Arts Installation Series in New York City. Combining HD video and time-based cinematography, Wilson displays illusionistic portraits of various celebrities, such as Johnny Depp and Salma Hayek, on the monumental street screens of Times Square. Today, the majority of Wilson's work is archived at the Byrd Hoffman Watermill Foundation in New York City.