The founder of important print maker Gemini GEL, Elyse Grinstein, has died at 87 years of age. An important figure in the evolution of Los Angeles as a significant art community, Grinstein collected artists like Ellsworth Kelly, Carl Andre, Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, John Baldessari, Ed Moses and Judy Chicago. All were her friends, according to the LA Times obituary:
Elyse Grinstein and her husband founded Gemini in 1966 with then-married couple Sidney and Rosamund Felsen. It became a magnet around which contemporary artists coalesced, including Rauschenberg, Serra, Jasper Johns, Claes Oldenburg and Roy Lichtenstein, and Gemini played a key role in shaping the nascent L.A. art scene.
If that weren’t enough, Grinstein’s life story also contains this remarkable turn:
Architecture, however, is where Grinstein truly found her voice. When her youngest daughter, Nancy, left for college in the mid-’70s, a 48-year-old Grinstein enrolled in UCLA’s master’s program for architecture. She graduated at 50 and interned with her close friend, Frank Gehry, before starting her own firm, Grinstein/Daniels Inc.
For about 25 years, her practice included projects such as remodeling contemporary artist David Hockney’s Hollywood Hills home and, with partner Susan Narduli, remodeling several areas of CalArts’ campus after 1994 earthquake damage. With former partner Jeffrey Daniels, she designed the memorable, avant-garde Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant on Western and Oakwood avenues in L.A.’s Koreatown.