An abstract on Georgia O’Keeffe: Abstraction

October 13, 2009

The exhibit opened at the Whitney on September 17 and will run through January of next year.  It may have been because it was the last workday of the week, or because in the current economic climate, it is easier on people’s wallets (mine included) to come on Friday evenings when it is pay-as-you-wish at the museum, but the line, when we got there, went around the block.  The show was well worth the wait to get in.  While I am not usually a fan of the audio guide at museums ( I usually pick one up but immediately stop using it), I would greatly recommend making use of the guide at O’Keeffe as it very comprehensively and clearly (a rare combination I find, with exhibition guides) takes you through the stages of her development as an artist.  It also takes on the challenge of walking you through Stieglitz’s intimate photos of Georgia O’Keeffe without offending delicate sensibilities.  Alfred Stieglitz’s section of the exhibit left me attempting to imagine what it must have been like to be a young struggling female artist in the 1920s who finds a patron, someone willing to put you up in a working studio, someone who listened to what feelings are driving you to create.  This hero worship (which when it leads some woman’s life astray psychologists commonly attributes it to a lack of a proper and functional father figure) still exists today, and after much contemplation, I found it a very understandable conclusion that O’Keeffe became Stieglitz’s mistress.  Let’s stop here before I totally veer off the subject of the exhibit.  I myself was attracted to seeing the show, having seen reproductions of some of O’Keeffe’s very provocative renditions of flowers as a teen.  I was glad to have the images of these works get clearer in my head, and I walked out of the museum a bit fuller and very satisfied.

O'Keeffe Series 1 No 1


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