This July, the Nevada Museum of Art offers a fresh look at the life, art, and style of renowned modernist artist Georgia O’Keeffe. Known in the context of her self-crafted public persona, Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern invites us to view how the artist’s wardrobe, shown for the first time alongside key paintings and photographs, demonstrates her identity and artistic values. Organized by the Brooklyn Museum, Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern will be on view in downtown Reno, Nevada, from July 20th through October 20, 2019.
Eight Wrap Dresses. Left to right: Black cotton, c. 1960s–70s; White cotton, Carol Sarkisian, c. 1970s; Blue-gray cotton, c. 1960s; Pink cotton, Neiman Marcus, c. late 1950s; Blue cotton, Neiman Marcus, c. late 1950s; Brown cotton, Sidran, Inc., c. late 1950s; Green synthetic velvet, Carol Sarkisian, c. 1970s; Black cotton, c. 1960s– 70s. Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, 2000.03.0602, 2000.03.0410, 2000.03.0411, 2000.03.0398, 2000.03.0394, 2000.03.0419, 2000.03.0357, and 2000.03.0601. (Photo © Georgia O’Keeffe Museum)
Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern opens with an introduction depicting how O’Keeffe began to craft her signature clothing style as a high school student, dispensing with the bows and frills worn by young women at the time. The exhibition continues in four parts. We first travel to the New York of the 1920s and ’30s when she lived with Alfred Stieglitz and made many of her own clothes. The first part also examines Stieglitz’s multi-year, serial portrait project, ultimately resulted in her becoming one of the most photographed American artists in history where her understanding of photography’s power to shape public image.
Bruce Weber (American, born 1946). Georgia O’Keeffe, Abiquiu, N.M., 1984. Gelatin silver print, 14 x 11 in. (35.6 x 27.9 cm). Bruce Weber and Nan Bush Collection, New York. © Bruce Weber
The years in New Mexico comprise the second section, where the desert landscape of yellow, pink, and red of rock and cliff, as well as the blue sky, influenced her painting and dress palette. A small third section explores the influence and importance of Asian aesthetics in her personal style, and the final section displays images made after Stieglitz’s era by photographers who came to visit her in the Southwest.
O’Keeffe suffered from macular degeneration, and due to failing eyesight, she painted her last unassisted oil painting in 1972. But O’Keeffe’s will to create did not diminish. In 1977, at the age of ninety, she stated, “I can see what I want to paint. The thing that makes you want to create is still there.” Almost blind, she directed a handful of assistants who enabled her to continue to create art. In these works, she returned to favorite visual motifs from her memory and vivid imagination. She later passed away at the age of 98 in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on March 6, 1986, but her style and artwork continue to live on.
Tony Vaccaro. Georgia O’Keeffe with Pelvis Series, Red with Yellow, 1960. Chromogenic print, 14 x 17 inches. Courtesy of the artist. © Tony Vaccaro
To enhance this summer’s O’Keeffe experience, the Nevada Museum of Art has staged an additional exhibition to compliment Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern. On view May 25 through September 22, Georgia O’Keeffe: The Faraway Nearby, From the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, New Mexico transports visitors to the artist’s outdoor lifestyle in the American Southwest. The beauty and elegance of O’Keeffe’s New Mexico paintings were prompted by the intimacy of her experience with the land. The artist made repeated camping trips to draw and paint at extraordinary sites across this region. This exhibition presents a selection of fifty objects of camping gear belonging to O’Keeffe—everything from flashlight to Stanley thermos—that made her trips to remote locations possible.
Morning Glory with Black, 1926. Georgia O’Keeffe (American, 1887- 1986). Oil on canvas; framed: 96.5 x 81.3 x 5.4 cm (38 x 32 x 2 1/8 in.); unframed: 91 x 75.5 cm (35 13/16 x 29 3/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art, Bequest of Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. 1958.42 © The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York (photography © The Cleveland Museum of Art)
Rounding out the season of O’Keeffe, the Nevada Museum of Art will offer a host of public programs:
Members’ Only Preview | Thursday, July 18 | 6 – 9 PM | FREE for Museum Members
Embrace O’Keeffe’s remarkable sense of personal style during an evening planned especially for Nevada Museum of Art members who will enjoy free admission and exclusive access, including music by Milton Merlos, to the critically-acclaimed Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern before it opens to the public. Members are encouraged to express their “O’Keeffe style” by wearing white, red, or black. Members may bring a guest as a benefit of membership. If people are interested in becoming a Member to take advantage of this exclusive preview, they can join online today.
Dressing for the Photographer: Georgia O’Keeffe and Her Clothes | Saturday, July 20 | 11 am | $15 / $10 Members
Join art historian and Living Modern curator Wanda M. Corn as she explores the ways O’Keeffe used her distinctive style to shape her artistic identity, one that still dominates the American imagination today. Book signing to follow. Part of the Debra and Dennis Scholl Distinguished Speaker Series.
Laura Gilpin (American, 1891–1979). Georgia O’Keeffe, 1953. Gelatin silver print, 91⁄2 x 75⁄8 in.(24.1 x 19.4 cm). Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, ￼Santa Fe, N.M.; 2014.3.38. © 1979 Amon Carter Museum of American ￼Art, Fort Worth, TX
The American Look: Georgia O’Keeffe and the Fashion of Her Time | Friday, August 9 | noon | $10 / FREE for Members
Melissa Leventon is a specialist in European and American fashion and textiles. Through this lens, she will ask attendees to consider how the elements and sources of O’Keeffe’s signature wardrobe participate within the larger story of American fashion.
Georgia O’Keeffe: The Candid Camera | Thursday, August 29 | 6 pm | $12 / $8 Members
Dr. Ariel Plotek, Senior Director of Collections and Interpretation at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, will lend insight into the multiple ways O’Keeffe crafted her public persona through photography, from her relationship with Alfred Stieglitz to friends like Ansel Adams.
Ansel Adams (American, 1902–1984). Georgia O’Keeffe at Yosemite, 1938. Gelatin silver print, 53⁄4 x 33⁄8 in. (14.5 x 8.7 cm). Georgia OKeeffe Museum, Gift of The Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation, 2006.06.0856. © 2016 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust
Georgia O’Keeffe’s Sky | Friday, September 6 | noon | $10 / FREE for Members
Dr. Brett M. Van Hoesen, Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Nevada, Reno, will explore the representation of the southwest sky in O’Keeffe’s paintings and fashion as well as in photographs of the renowned artist.
Kellee Morgado on Consumption and Waste in the Fashion Industry | Friday, September 20 | noon | $10 / FREE for Members
O’Keeffe’s signature style of dress embodies modernism through form, function and sustainability, an inspiration for Morgado’s SEAM project. Join her as she discusses these parallels through an interdisciplinary lens.
In addition to these public programs, the E.L. Cord Museum School will offer several themed classes taught by renowned visiting and local artists, from inspired recycled fashion to harvesting natural dyes in the desert. To view the complete offerings and to register, CLICK HERE.