Untitled (Comb)

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Untitled (Comb)

Latvia, active United States, 1970
Sculpture
Enamel on wood
75 × 14 5/8 × 2 3/8 in. (190.5 × 37.15 × 6.03 cm)
Contemporary Art Council Fund (M.72.26)
Currently on public view:
Broad Contemporary Art Museum, floor 3

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Label

From 1964 to 1970, Vija Celmins created paintings and sculptures of personal belongings and mundane objects such as household appliances, pencils, erasers, and this comb....
From 1964 to 1970, Vija Celmins created paintings and sculptures of personal belongings and mundane objects such as household appliances, pencils, erasers, and this comb. A “memorial piece”—as she called it—to the Surrealist artist René Magritte, Comb was inspired in part by his 1952 painting Personal Values, which pictures a room filled with incongruous and oversized objects. To make this sculpture, Celmins drew the comb’s shape on a large piece of wood, which she had roughly cut at a lumberyard. She then laboriously sanded it by hand and coated it with several layers of lacquer to achieve a seamless, tortoiseshell finish. Though Comb appears industrially manufactured, Celmins calls attention to her painstaking process by carefully lettering the word “handmade” at the top of the work.

Exhibition wall label, 2021.
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Bibliography

  • Celmins, Vija, Ken Price and Matthew Higgs. Ken Price. Göttingen: Steidl; New York: Matthew Marks Gallery, 2007.


  • Tuchman, Maurice.  Ten Years of Contemporary Art Council Acquisitions: Inaugurating The New Contemporary Art Galleries.  Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1973.
  • Celmins, Vija, Ken Price and Matthew Higgs. Ken Price. Göttingen: Steidl; New York: Matthew Marks Gallery, 2007.


  • Tuchman, Maurice.  Ten Years of Contemporary Art Council Acquisitions: Inaugurating The New Contemporary Art Galleries.  Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1973.
  • A Focus on California:  Selections from the Collection. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1984.
  • Barron, Stephanie, Michel Draguet, and Sara Cochran. Magritte and Contemporary Art: The Treachery of Images. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Belgium: Ludion, 2006.
  • Garrels, Gary. Vija Celmins: To Fix the Image in Memory. San Francisco: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in association with Yale University Press, 2018.
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