Friday Film Break: Rashaun Mitchell, Silas Riener and Patti Smith Celebrate Gerhard Richter

Rashaun Mitchell + Silas Riener perform in Gagosian gallery's latest episode of Gagosian Premieres. Available on Gagosian's website and YouTube channel, the short film celebrates the work of abstract expressionist painter Gerhard Richter.

Gagosian is one of the foremost art galleries in the world, with 17 branches spanning the United States, Europe and Asia.

Mitchell and Riener, along with erudite punk rock goddess Patti Smith, go into stirring dialogue with Richter's mesmeric, larger than life works through spoken word, commentary, song, and of course, contemporary movement.


Mitchell and Riener dance to music once removed, in a sense. Richter created the collection of six paintings, called Cage 1-6, while listening to the music of John Cage. Dense layers of paint, applied via squeegee, often partially peeled away, are signature elements of the work.

That two former Cunningham dancers are featured is fitting. Not only did Cunningham often collaborate with visual artists, Cage was his most frequent musical collaborator as well as his lifelong romantic partner. Both Cage and Cunningham delved into experimental modes of expression.

The experimental dance, experimental music and abstract expressionist painting that emerged in the US in the late '60s into the '70s as these artists developed their particular styles were all in quiet yet firm rebellion against the art forms from which they were initially inspired. Here, they intriguingly and seamlessly come together against the stark white backdrop of Gagosian's towering gallery walls in New York City.

The work is at times joyous, at times melancholy, but always a wondrous coalescence of disparate modes of artistic expression.

The film was produced and directed by Darlina Goldak, Sarah Jones, Alison McDonald and Olivia Mull.

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