Happy Monday everyone!  The gallery is Closed today.

image of ocean waves done in graphite on acrylic ground on paper by artis Vija Celmins

Vija Celmins, Untitled (Ocean), 1977. Graphite on acrylic ground on paper, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, bequest of Alfred M. Esberg ©Vija Celmins, photo: Don Ross, courtesy San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.


Vija Celmins: To Fix the Image in Memory

May 4 – August 5, 2019

This exhibition is included with General Admission.

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Vija Celmins: To Fix the Image in Memory is the first major North American retrospective of the celebrated artist’s work in over two decades. One of the few women to be recognized as a significant artist in 1960s Los Angeles, Celmins relocated to New York City in 1981, where she continues to live and work.  Her subject matter ranges from early studio still life paintings and sculpture, to small scale drawings of ocean surfaces, spider webs and celestial skies, all meticulously rendered in extraordinary detail.  This exhibition will also feature several large scale paintings, drawn from the artist’s newest body of work.    

Featuring over 110 works, this exhibition highlights Celmins’ intensive approach of creating artistic “redescriptions” of the physical world as a way of understanding human consciousness through lived experience. These delicate and subtle artworks invite the viewer to pause and contemplate Celmins' distinctive artistic process.   

The exhibition is co-organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

View more Vija Celmins videos by SFMOMA


Listen to the audio guide for Vija Celmins: To Fix the Image in Memory, created for the exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The guide features comments from Vija Celmins; the exhibition curators, Gary Garrels, Elise S. Haas Senior Curator of Painting and Sculpture and Nancy Lim, Assistant Curator, Painting and Sculpture; and Tony Berant, an artist and long-time friend of Celmins.

Vija Celmins Events


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Past Events


Curator's Talk: Gary Garrels
Friday May 3, 2019, 7 pm

Join Gary Garrels, curator of Vija Celmins: To Fix the Image in Memory for talk exploring the five decades of work by Vija Celmins featured in the exhibition.   

Best known for her striking drawings of ocean surfaces, begun in 1968 and revisited over many years both in drawings and paintings, Vija Celmins (b. 1938) has been creating…

Curators' Circle
Exclusive: Vija Celmins: To Fix the Image in Memory
Thursday, May 2

One of today’s leading artists, Vija Celmins seeks to understand the limits of human experience through her paintings and drawings. The ocean, desert, and night sky are subjects that appear repeatedly in her work – rendered in muted tones and exploring the uninhabitable and an unbounded beauty.

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