Sophia Benrud Breakin' (1999)

Robb Mitchell

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This is a series of images of Sophia Benrud, age 8, breakdancing in front of Roy Lichtenstein’s “Salute to Painting” in 1999. It caught her attention that her clothing was a color match to the sculpture so she jumped up and began a celebratory dance. We also made one of those motion flip books by repeating the images.

When Sophie was a child I used to take her to the Walker, as I was living near the Wedge Coop, and this was often a day adventure for us. I have a graduate degree in Art, studied Art History as an undergraduate and wrote art criticism for local and national publications under a grant from the Center for Arts Criticism. Frankly, I had grown cynical about the incestuous nature of art in museums but when I took Sophie to the Walker, her excitement; her enthusiasm; her curiosity as to why artists made these images, objects, films and environments was truly infectious and I rediscovered why we yearn for art and how it touches our soul. Sophie looked at art unvarnished by decades of art criticism and academic infighting and she opened my eyes to the primary relationship we have with art rather than all the embellishment given to it is argument and debate. Now, I feel the embellishment is a part of the overall experience art gives us but you can’t lose track of the essential elements that strike us and she gave that back to me. And that was magical. We loved going to the Walker and especially the Free First Saturday with its workshops and educational programs.

Photos by Robb A. Mitchell

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