Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern

Speaking of Inspiring Women…

O’Keeffe in a 1929 gelatin silver print by her husband. Credit ALFRED STIEGLITZ; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Alfred Stieglitz Collection

You’ve got to admire how O’Keeffe was the master of her own public persona at a time when there was no social media.  She told photographers how to “shoot her”, not the other way around.

A refreshing new exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum (on until July 23, 2017) for the first time combines O’Keeffe’s art and her wardrobe with photographic portraits. “Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern

The painter of simplified images of enlarged flowers, Lake George tree trunks and New Mexico’s terra-cotta hills applied her meticulous sense of austerity and detail to every garment she owned. Some she designed and sewed herself, others she had custom made, and still others she bought off the rack or in antique shops (Japanese kimonos, for example).

O’Keeffe’s self-created image shaped her work’s accessibility, while at the same time shielding her privacy. This unity is revealed in the links drawn among some 50 works of art and 50 garments or ensembles, accessories included, and nearly 100 photographs of the artist taken by 23 photographers, from Ansel Adams and Cecil Beaton to Andy Warhol and Bruce Weber.

The greatest number of these images were taken by O’Keeffe’s husband, the eminent photographer and gallerist Alfred Stieglitz, often considered her domineering mentor, whom she met in 1916, began living with in 1918 and married in 1924.

For years, O’Keeffe limited her wardrobe to mainly black and/or white, until the Southwest loosened her color sense a bit and also introduced her to denim and jeans. She favored an androgynous look, frequenting the same New York men’s tailor — Knize — (as did Marlene Dietrich), liked Ferragamo flats and wore little jewelry. A rare favorite, visible in many photographs, was a brass brooch made for her by Alexander Calder. It represents her initials, OK, with ancient rock-painting complexity, and she wore it vertically to make it more abstract. In later years, she had it copied in silver, because she thought brass didn’t look good with her white hair.

Source: NY Times

https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/

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