Vija Celmins Returns to Los Angeles

March 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

Vija Celmins and LACMA Director Michael Govan, 2011

March 16, 2011

Sidney and I attended the reception at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in honor of Vija Celmins.  An exquisite, intimate showing of Vija’s early paintings is on view there through June 5th, having traveled from the Menil Museum in Houston.  The paintings and sculptures are mostly gray, with one fiery red-orange painting and one painted sculpture punctuating the otherwise monochrome installation.  All created in her Venice Beach studio between 1964-66, many of the works were exhibited at (and bought from) her graduate school exhibition at UCLA.  After the reception, Vija’s dealers, Renee and David McKee, hosted a dinner at one of our favorite LA restaurants, Campanile.  Gemini artist Sophie Calle accompanied us to the reception and the dinner; Sophie had just arrived from Paris to begin a collaboration with the workshop on a new project.  The night prior to the LACMA opening, we attended a lovely dinner held in the home of a private collector, where Vija reconnected with many of her long-time LA artist-friends.  She also spent time chatting with museum Directors Michael Govan and Annie Philbin, as well as collectors, several of whom had spotted her talent in the 60s and had bought (and kept) works from that period.  It was a joyous homecoming for Vija.

Vija Celmins at Gemini artists’ workshop, 2002

(Photograph by Sidney B. Felsen © 2002)

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