Born in Waco, Texas in 1941, Wilson was educated at the University of Texas and arrived in New York in 1963 to attend Brooklyn's Pratt Institute. Soon thereafter Wilson set to work and developed his first signature works including Deafman Glance (1970), A Letter for Queen Victoria (1974) together with Philip Glass Einstein on the Beach (1976). Of Wilson's artistic career, Susan Sontag has added “it has the signature of a major artistic creation. I can't think of any body of work as large or as influential.”
Following Einstein, Wilson worked increasingly with major European theaters and opera houses such as the Festival d'Automne in Paris, Das Berliner Ensemble, the Schaubühne in Berlin, the Thalia Theater in Hamburg, the Salzburg Festival, the Paris Opera, and the Bolshoi Opera. Wilson's practice is firmly rooted in the fine arts. Extensive retrospectives of his drawings, installations and furniture design have been presented at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. His installation of the Guggenheim's Giorgio Armani retrospective has traveled to London, Rome, Bilbao and Tokyo before coming to Madrid. In the past three years Robert Wilson has worked on a series of Video Portraits that were commissioned and produced by VOOM HD. They will be presented in January 2007 in New York for the first time and then travel through galleries and museums around the world and are also destined for broadcast and public display, in airports, subway stops or supermarkets.
Wilson has received numerous prizes for his achievement in all fields of the Arts.
Each summer Wilson decamps to the Watermill Center, a laboratory for the arts and humanities in eastern Long Island. The Watermill Center which brings together students and experienced professionals in a multi-disciplinary environment dedicated to creative collaboration.