Vija Celmins’ Exhibition in Riga Visited by Almost 20,000 People

Vija Celmins’ Exhibition in Riga Visited by Almost 20,000 People
Mārtiņš Otto, Riga 2014
The renowned Latvia-born American artist Vija Celmins’ solo exhibition “Double Reality” at the Art Museum “Riga Bourse” closed before the midsummer holidays. A total of 19,646 people visited the exhibition, participated in various related events and educational programmes.

As reported, Vija Celmins’ exhibition “Double Reality” was one of the most awaited “Riga 2014” events. The exhibition was included in the “Thirst for the Ocean” thematic line of the “Riga 2014” Programme.

The exhibition’s curator Elita Ansone comments: “The Latvian National Museum of Art had been dreaming of organising an exhibition of Vija Celminas’ works already since mid-1990s. Vija Celmins is the most popular Latvia-born artist in Western art.

And only this year, thanks to new opportunities opened up by the European Capital of Culture status, have we been able to implement such an ambitious project.

Works showcased at the exhibition had come from the world’s leading museums. This kind of collaboration has made it possible for a number of very important Western art institutions and experts to discover Riga as a select place for exhibitions of the highest quality, which, for the LNMA and the city, should be seen as a long-term investment in prospective future projects.”

The exhibition in the native Riga was also a very important and emotional event for the artist herself. During her visit to Riga, Vija Celmins revealed that the next opportunity for the public to see her oeuvre would come in four years – in 2018 when she will have a solo exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

The retrospective of Vija Celmins’ works showcased artworks created over fifty years from 1964 to 2014, presenting the various artistic media that Celmins had worked in, and demonstrating the various art genres in the artist’s career during the past fifty years, denoting several distinctive periods in Celmins’ art and presenting the subjects that the artist was interested in.

Most of the works at the exhibition depicted the ocean and star fields, which have won the artist worldwide acclaim.

The exhibition visitors were also able to see a film about Vija Celmins produced by the Juris Podnieks Studio.

In total, 53 works by Vija Celmins were on show at the exhibition “Double Reality”. They had travelled to Riga from the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Modern Art in Frankfurt, Foundation Cartier in Paris, Tate Modern in London, National Galleries of Scotland, as well as from the Latvian National Museum of Art collection, the U.S. Embassy in Latvia, the Mūkusala Art Salon, McKee Gallery in New York, and the artist’s own collection of her artworks.

Vija Celmins was born in Riga in 1938. Her family fled Latvia in 1944, arriving in the United States in 1948 and settling in Indianapolis in 1949. In 1962 the artist moved to Los Angeles, enrolled at the University of California and earned a Master’s degree in fine arts in 1965. She was living and working in Los Angeles until 1981 when she moved to New York.



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