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Vija Celmins: The Art of Enervation

Harrison Adams

Published online:

09 Mar 2023



The painter Vija Celmins has long been an outlier in narratives of postwar American art. Extensive formal analysis of her work, from her early still lifes to her later night skies and ocean surfaces, shows that Celmins was deeply invested in the issues of time, entropy, and energy that proved crucial to her contemporaries, like Robert Smithson and Hans Haacke. However, Celmins found ways of objectifying energy through naturalistic representation and the most traditional of media, painting and drawing. She explores these issues by discovering contradictions within classical mimesis.

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Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte Issues

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Volume 82 (2019)
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