Vija Celmins: Television and Disaster 1964–1966

Ahmanson Building, Level 2
March 13, 2011–June 5, 2011
Image: Vija Celmins, Time Magazine Cover, 1965, oil on canvas, 22x16 in., privat

Vija Celmins: Television and Disaster 19641966 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.

Vija Celmins
Hand Holding a Firing Gun
Vija Celmins
Burning Plane
Vija Celmins
House #1
Vija Celmins

Seeing Anew: A Conversation with Franklin Sirmans

Franklin Sirmans hasn’t wasted any time settling into his new post as head of contemporary art at LACMA. He’s been visiting studios, galleries, and private collections around town, getting to know the works of art in our permanent collection, and planning upcoming exhibitions...

Reflections on the Decade: Los Angeles 1955–1985 at the Pompidou

The art of Southern California has taken a long time to find its rightful place in the (art) world. Despite the consistently high quality of work made here, the art and artists of Los Angeles undeniably languished in the shadow of their East Coast counterparts for many years...