Vija Celmins: To Fix the Image in Memory

Edited by Gary Garrels

Foreword by Neal Benezra and Max Hollein; contributions from Gary Garrels, Ian Alteveer, Meredith A. Brown, Briony Fer, Russell Ferguson, Suzanne Hudson, Frances Jacobus-Parker, and Nancy Lim

272 pages, 9 1/2 x 11 5/8 inches, hardcover

Published in 2019

Vija Celmins (b. 1938) has been creating exquisitely detailed drawings, paintings, and sculptures of natural imagery for more than five decades. She is perhaps best known for her striking drawings of ocean surfaces, desert floors, and night skies, in which vast, expansive distances are distilled into mesmerizing small-scale artworks. Celmins terms her process of translating one surface to another—whether working from photographic sources or replicating found objects—“redescription,” an act that explores human consciousness in relation to lived experience and invites us to question our perceptions of reality.

The first major publication on the artist in twenty years, this comprehensive and lavishly illustrated monograph explores the full range of Celmins’s work produced since the 1960s—drawings and paintings as well as sculpture and prints. Scholarly essays, a narrative chronology, and a selection of excerpts from interviews with the artist illuminate her continued commitment to investigating the nature of drawing and painting. Documenting her years in the artist community of Los Angeles of the 1960s and 1970s, where she first broke from the predominant styles of Abstract Expressionism, Pop, and Minimalism to refine her unique approach to abstraction, as well as her time in the vibrant milieu of New York of the 1980s and 1990s, where she ultimately settled, this unprecedented survey offers a broader context than ever before for her distinctive work.

Published in association with Yale University Press on the occasion of the exhibition Vija Celmins: To Fix the Image in Memory, held at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (December 15, 2018–March 31, 2019), the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (May 4–August 4, 2019), and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (September 24, 2019–January 12, 2020)

ISBN 9780300234213 (hardcover)