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The ceaseless beauty masterfully created by Georgia O'Keeffe, unarguably one of the most iconic and trailblazing artists of our time, is coming to the Cleveland Museum of Art for its newest major exhibition, Georgia O’Keeffe’s “Living Modern.” It is within this captivating experience that O'Keeffe's ferociously unconventional approach to arts and life is on full display, while also showcasing the pinnacle of her strikingly modern style.
“Living Modern,” which runs Nov. 23, 2018–March 3, 2019, is broken up into three distinct exhibition sections that include her early years (featuring her signature style of clothing), mature years (including her art representing the colors of the American Southwest) and the role photography played in her art and celebrity.
Why should you check it out? Here are three reasons …
Black Pansy & Forget-Me-Nots (Pansy), 1926. Georgia O’Keeffe (American, 1887‒1986). Oil on canvas; 68.9 x 31.1 cm (27 1/8 x 12 1/4 in.). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mrs. Alfred S. Rossin, 28.521. © Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. Photo: Christine Gant, Brooklyn Museum
Part of the exhibit displays O’Keeffe’s early style — stunning blacks and whites, unornamented and understated, make many of these images from the 1920s and 1930s thoroughly modern. O’Keeffe was a trailblazer in fashion, and her art at the time reflected the same minimalist pallet.
Morning Glory with Black, 1926. Georgia O'Keeffe (American, 1887-1986). Oil on canvas, 91 x 75.5 cm (35 13/16 x 29 11/1 in.). Bequest of Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. 1958.42. © The Georgia O'Keeffe Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York]
Okay, get your jokes out of the way. Some of the flowers look like certain parts of the female anatomy, yes, we know. Though O’Keeffe was championed as a proto-feminist artist by many, the exhibit addresses O’Keeffe’s feelings on the topic in the following manner:
“According to the artist, she was drawn to paint flowers because of their natural beauty. However, when [her husband and art dealer Alfred] Stieglitz exhibited her abstractions and flower paintings, he influenced others by insisting that O’Keeffe’s images were drawn from a woman’s sexuality and anatomy. O’Keeffe rejected his essentializing her as a ‘woman artist’ rather than an ‘artist,’ and denied his highly eroticized and gendered readings of her paintings. Interestingly, when feminist artists in later decades took O’Keeffe as their role model, she was incensed, finding their enthusiasm for her as a woman artist a return to an identity she had worked hard to overcome. Today, viewers of O’Keeffe’s flower paintings continue to debate their content and meaning.”
Georgia O’Keeffe on Ghost Ranch Portal, New Mexico, c. 1960s. Todd Webb (American, 1905–2000). Gelatin silver print; 25.4 x 20.3 cm (10 x 8 in.). Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, NM, Gift of the Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation, 2006.06.1046. © Estate of Todd Webb, Portland, ME
We are positive you cannot match the stern and serious visages that O’Keeffe perfected as her look. We are so positive that we challenge you to try to match or one-up these camera-ready poses. You may have been in polka-dots for Kusama, but you’ll be putting on Lee Marvin-stares to try to compete with O’Keeffe’s affinity for looking serious when a camera lens was pointed her way.
“Living Modern” at the Cleveland Museum of Art runs Nov. 23-March 3. Tickets are on sale now (adults $15; seniors and college students $13; children 6–17 $7, and children 5 and under are free).
The museum recommends reserving tickets through its online platform by visiting cma.org/exhibitions.
As a note, December is expected to book quickly. It is likely that your first choice of date and time may not be available, so please have other date options in mind when reserving tickets.
For more information, click here.
Header Image: Georgia O’Keeffe, c. 1920–22. Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864–1946). Gelatin silver print; 11.4 x 9 cm (4 1/2 x 3 1/2 in.). Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, NM, Gift of the Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation, 2003.01.006
NOTE: Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern is organized by the Brooklyn Museum and curated by Wanda M. Corn, Robert and Ruth Halperin Professor Emerita in Art History, Stanford University.
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