And before you start humming any more of the classic Ray Charles song, I mean Georgia O’Keeffe, the artist and one of, if not, the inventor of the American modernism genre in Art. Brooklyn Museum currently hosts an inspiring exhibit.
The exhibit, though featuring numerous pieces of her art, was more about the woman herself. Known as much for her free spirit as for her dramatic and often sensual of art, something she maintained was never intentional, O’Keefe was a female role model in the male dominated world of abstract and fine art. Her unique style made her a standout in many ways.
It was in the 1920s, when nobody had time to reflect, that I saw a still-life painting with a flower that was perfectly exquisite, but so small you really could not appreciate it. I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty.
Like much of her art, when she wasn’t wearing black, she wore deep, rich hues. Preferring well-tailored, nearly mannish in her cut of clothes, instead of the more flowy, frilly styles that are a constant of women’s fashion, O’Keefe preferred a more androgynous look in her clothing style long before we started bandying the word about.
A style icon in her own right, the exhibit displays items of her clothing, and accessories -off the rack and custom made, over the years. She was also a sassy little minx as images captured her in various states of contemplation and dress – and undress- from various photographers such as Richard Avedon, Ansel Adams, and others, but especially her ex-lover Alfred Stieglitz. These photographs interspersed throughout the exhibit cover decades of her life and are as much art themselves in the stories they tell of their subject.
The exhibit also included video interviews of her at different times in her long career. Seeing and hearing her adds even more dimension when combined with all these personal pieces of her.Though I have known of her work all my life, I really knew nothing of the artist’s life until this exhibit.
It was a wonderful fusion of the art and the artist. I have a new and much deeper respect of both for it.
Let’s see how the others sliced it up their Saturday,