Vija Celmins and Riko Mizuno oral history interview, 2011

Getty Research Institute


1 videodisc (DVD) of 1 : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in. +.
Material comprises video recordings of an oral history interview with Vija Celmins and Riko Mizuno conducted by Rani Singh and John Tain in Santa Monica, California on March 17, 2011. Vija Celmins and Riko Mizuno begin by discussing how they met and the establishment of Mizuno's gallery. They then converse about a variety of topics and people related to the art world of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Getty Research Institute (GRI) hosted events and conducted oral histories inspired by the "Modern Art in Los Angeles" theme beginning in 2003. Much of the research and product generated by the GRI's Modern Art in Los Angeles activities has been incorporated into the Getty's larger initiative, "Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A.," which focused on postwar art (1945-1980) in Los Angeles.
Vija Celmins was born in Latvia in 1938 and emigrated to the United States with her parents. They settled in Indiana where she attended the Herron School of Art. Celmins moved to California to attend UCLA and graduated with a Masters of Fine Arts in 1965. Her first solo exhibition was held the following year at David Stuart Galleries. Her early works depict commonplace objects such as lamps and heaters. Like her painting Freeway, some of her works were drawn or painted from photographs, establishing a tension between mechanical reproduction and handmade craft, an aesthetic that would persist throughout her career.
Born in Tokyo, Japan, Riko Mizuno arrived in Los Angeles in the mid 1950s. She studied ceramics at the Chouinard Art Institute, where she became friends with Stephan von Huene and other artists. In 1967 she took over the space on La Cienega Boulevard formerly occupied by the Rolf Nelson Gallery and opened Gallery 669, with an inaugural exhibition of Henry Miller's works on paper. After a brief collaboration with Eugenia Butler, Mizuno gave the gallery her own name. During the 10 years Mizuno occupied the space, she showed established figures associated with the Ferus Gallery, such as Ken Price, Ed Moses, Larry Bell, Robert Irwin, and Billy Al Bengston. She also showed lesser-known artists, among them Ay-O, Chris Burden, Vija Celmins, Jack Goldstein, Alexis Smith, and Doug Wheeler. She later moved to a smaller space in Little Tokyo, where she showed Sam Francis, Frank Gehry, and a young artist named Mike Kelley.
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Finding aid; Available in the repository; item level control.
Forms part of: The Getty Research Institute Pacific Standard Time Art in L.A. Recordings, 2008-2012 (Institutional Archives finding aid no. IA40011).

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