Born in Riga, Latvia in 1938, esteemed painter, draftsperson, and printmaker, Vija Celmins, is perhaps best known today for her meticulous representations of the natural world. Early depictions of common objects (a fan or lamp, a pencil eraser or a news magazine cover), images at once deadpan and mordantly surreal, gave way to scrupulously observed depictions of the surface of the sea, dessert floors, or star-studded night skies. Often horizonless, and thus ‘overall’ in composition, Celmins’ land and seascapes affirm the picture plane even as they conjure depths, a tension that lends her pictures a hypnotic stillness. Celmins received an M.F.A. from U.C.L.A. in 1966, and began exhibiting regularly shortly thereafter. Today, her achievement has been celebrated with solo exhibitions at numerous museums, including the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Menil Collection, Houston; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia. In fall 2018, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art will present a full-career retrospective that will travel to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. Celmins currently lives and works in New York City, where she is represented by the Matthew Marks Gallery.
Celmins seminar will be presented by Suzanne Hudson, an art historian, critic, and Associate Professor of Art History and Fine Arts at the University of Southern California, where she also serves as the Director of Graduate Studies for Art History. Co-founder of the Contemporary Art Think Tank and the Society of Contemporary Art Historians, an affiliate society of the College Art Association, for which she currently serves as President Emerita and Chair of the Executive Committee, she is also a member of the Editorial Board of CAA.Reviews and the Advisory Board of the Archives of American Art Journal.
A regular contributor to Artforum since 2004, Hudson is the author of Robert Ryman: Used Paint (MIT Press, 2009; 2011), Painting Now (Thames & Hudson, 2015), Agnes Martin: Night Sea (Afterall/MIT Press, 2017), and the co-editor of Contemporary Art: 1989–Present (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013). She is currently pursuing research into the practical applications of art making for her book, Better for the Making: Art, Therapy, Process, a study of the therapeutic origins of process within American modernism.
The Graduate Art Seminar is a forum for graduate students and members of the ArtCenter community to enter into dialog with internationally recognized artists, critics, and art historians. The Seminar is a core component of ArtCenter’s Graduate Art program. The Seminar is also free and open to the public.
ArtCenter’s Graduate Art program is based on intensive studio practice and rigorous academic coursework. The program is distinguished by its low faculty-to-student ratio that provides students with the attention and feedback they need to refine and achieve their artistic goals. Faculty and students are artists working in all genres—film, video, photography, painting, sculpture, performance and installation. A significant number of alumni have achieved national and international acclaim and often return to share their insights and expertise as visiting faculty and guest lecturers.