Vija Celmins: Television and Disaster 1964–1966
Vija Celmins: Television and Disaster 1964–1966 explores an essential and often overlooked period of the artist's work. Celmins is best known as a painter of refined representational images—including night skies, ocean waves and spider webs. However, the images that first grounded her interest as a young artist in Los Angeles in the 1960s are characterized by violent themes such as crashing warplanes, smoking handguns, and other images of death and disaster influenced by the violence of the era and the mass media that represented it.
This is the first exhibition to concentrate on the Celmins's early paintings and sculptures, made during a three-year period that laid the technical and thematic groundwork for her future as an artist.
Vija Celmins was born in 1938 in Riga, Latvia, and fled with her family to Germany in advance of the Soviet army's invasion in 1944. Migrating to the United States in 1948, the family settled in Indianapolis, where Celmins grew up and studied art. In 1962, she moved to the West Coast to attend graduate school at the University of California, Los Angeles. She has lived and worked primarily in New York since 1981.
This exhibition is co-organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Menil Collection, Houston.
The Los Angeles presentation was made possible in part by Laura and Jim Maslon.
Image: Vija Celmins, Time Magazine Cover, 1965, oil on canvas, 22x16 in., private collection c/o Ms. Laura Bechter.
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