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Charles Gaines to Take the REDCAT Stage for Art21 Film Screening

Artist Charles Gaines standing against shadows of large chainlinks
Still from Charles Gaines: Systems & Structures (2022), directed by Sue Ding and Ian Forster.

On Saturday, March 18, REDCAT will partner with nonprofit Art21 to present the recently premiered film, Charles Gaines: Systems & Structures.

After the screening, renowned artist and CalArts Faculty Emeritus Charles Gaines will take part in a conversation with artists Sadie Barnette (Art BFA 06) and Nate Young (Art MFA 09), moderated by Steven Lam, dean of the CalArts School of Art.

Investigating the production of knowledge and culture, Gaines uses rule-based systems to create paintings, drawings, musical compositions, and sculptures. Culminating in the completion of Moving Chains (2022), a 100-foot-long public sculpture on Governors Island in New York City, the new film, produced by Art21, traces the connections Gaines makes between lived experiences and the systems that shape them.

“How do we improve the world? How do we improve life for everybody? Well, I don’t know if that’s possible,” says Gaines. “But when the bad things happen, we’ve got to complain about them in order to reduce them.” The conversation with Barnette and Young, both of whom were Gaines’ students, will consider the influence of his work and also connect it with CalArts alumnx who are taking on issues of social change and resistance. 

In August 2020, philanthropist Eileen Harris Norton honored Gaines with a $5 million gift to create the Charles Gaines Faculty Chair and related programming at CalArts, including the recently-launched Rosalind Harris Visiting Critic Program. Along with the support and commitment of others, Gaines developed the Charles Gaines Fellowship for MFA Students, which provides full support of tuition expenses for MFA Art students who self-identify as Black Americans of the African diaspora or domestic students who self-identify as Mexican or of Central American descent.

—by Katie Dunham

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Charles Gaines to Take the REDCAT Stage for Art21 Film Screening