Event Press Release

An Unique Evening Of Art-inspired Music And Poetry At SFMOMA Featuring Celebrated Musician Bill Frisell

Release date: December 6, 2002

What On Saturday, January 11 the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) will present two musical performances and readings from the artists who collaborated on RICHTER 858, a book of poems, essays and music inspired by and specially commissioned for the Gerhard Richter series of paintings, Abstract Pictures (858), currently on view at the Museum through April 1, 2003.
Who Musicians: Bill Frisell, guitars and electronics; Jenny Scheinman, violin; Eyvind Kang, viola; Hank Roberts, cello perform Frisell's composition, Richter 858

Poets: Robert Hass, Dean Young, Brenda Hillman, W.S. Di Piero, Paul Hoover, David Breskin read their poems from Richter 858
When Saturday, January 11, 2003 / 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Where Phyllis Wattis Theater, SFMOMA
Tickets $30 general; $25 SFMOMA members, students with ID, and seniors. Tickets available online at www.tickets.com or at SFMOMA
Background One of the rare groups of Richter abstractions to remain fully intact, Abstract Pictures (858-1 through 858-8) consists of eight intensely colored and formally complex paintings, which were among the first works completed by the artist in the summer of 1999, after recovering from a serious illness. Compelled by these works—and with the artist's blessing—writer, editor and record producer David Breskin created RICHTER 858 as both investigation and celebration of this suite of pictures in particular, and Richter abstraction in general.

The book presents a unique mix of image, music, and text:

•  Renowned guitarist and composer Bill Frisell contributes a musical response—one song inspired by each painting—in the setting of a 21st-century string quartet (violin, viola, cello, guitars and electronics)

•  Thirteen American poets—among them two Pulitzer Prize winners, five MacArthur and six Guggenheim Foundation fellows and a former Poet Laureate of the United States—offer a dynamic range of poetry triggered by the paintings

•  Noted art critics Dave Hickey and Klaus Kertess provide insightful essays, which are complemented by a sampling of Richter's own thoughts on painting, process and abstraction over a 40-year period

Media Contacts

  • Sandra Sloan , 415/357-4174 ,
  • Libby Garrison, 415/357-4177,


San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
151 Third Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

Founded in 1935 as the first West Coast museum devoted to modern and contemporary art, SFMOMA is currently undergoing a major expansion project that will significantly enhance gallery, education, and public spaces, enabling the museum to better showcase more of its expanded permanent collection. While the museum is temporarily closed for construction,  through 2016, SFMOMA is “on the go” with an extensive array of off-site programming across the Bay Area, including collaborative and traveling museum exhibitions, major outdoor projects and commissioned installations, and new education initiatives.

Visit sfmoma.org or call 415.357.4000 for more information.