WINSTON-SALEM, NC.- Reynolda House Museum of American Art
will present Georgia OKeeffe: Living Modern, a landmark exhibition organized by the Brooklyn Museum that examines the artists self-crafted persona through her art, her dress, and her progressive, independent lifestyle. More than 190 paintings, photographs, sculptures and personal objects will be on view August 18 November 19, including jewelry, accessories, and garments from her wardrobe, some designed and made by the artist herself. The exhibition reveals the artists powerful ownership of her public and artistic identity and affirms that she embodied the same modern aesthetic in her self-fashioning as in her art. Reynolda House Museum of American Art is the only venue in the Southern U.S. for Georgia OKeeffe: Living Modern.
The exhibition features numerous portraits of the artistmany of them now iconictaken by eminent photographers, including Alfred Stieglitz, Ansel Adams, Cecil Beaton, Philippe Halsman, Yousuf Karsh, Todd Webb and Bruce Weber. The portraiture, spanning her time as a young artist in New York City to her years in northern New Mexico, illustrates the artists use of photographic sittings to construct her distinguished style. A highlight is Stieglitzs 20-year portrait series of OKeeffe, which, the exhibition notes, introduced her to the mediums power to shape her image.
The exhibition is an eye-opening look at this seminal artist, says Phil Archer, Reynolda Houses coordinating curator for the exhibition. Georgia OKeeffe was as much a pioneer of American modernism as she was an innovator in what people today call branding. OKeeffe created an unwavering image of herself through her wardrobe, her homes and in the ways she posed for pictures.
Georgia OKeeffe: Living Modern follows OKeeffes life from a young girl in Wisconsin to a pioneer of modernism and a style icon living on the New Mexico desert. Family photographs, yearbooks, and personal letters are early evidence that OKeeffe dispensed with the bows and frills worn by young women and began to create her signature clothing style as a high school student. The exhibition then proceeds to her time in New York in the 1920s and 30s, when she lived with Stieglitz and made many of her own clothes.
The artists New Mexico years, first as a summer artist and later as a permanent resident, span from 1929 to 1986. The exhibition demonstrates how the desert landscapethe yellows, pinks, and reds of rocks and cliffs, and the blue skyinspired both her painting and dress palette. A selection of paintings, kimonos, and Hong Kong-tailored clothes also explores the influence and importance of Asian aesthetics in her iconic look.
Georgia OKeeffe: Living Modern is the largest exhibition ever mounted at Reynolda House Museum of American Art. The shows 190 objects, which include 38 of OKeeffes works from all periods, extend from the Mary and Charlie Babcock Wing through the 64-room country manor house built by R. J. and Katharine Reynolds in 1917, which today serves as the setting for Reynolda Houses permanent collection.
Reynolda Houses unique art museum-within-a-residence enables it to present Georgia OKeeffe: Living Modern with echoes of Alfred Stieglitzs famed 291 gallery in New York, exhibiting artwork and personal objects in an intimate setting. In particular, private rooms on the second story of the houseonce bedrooms of the Reynolds familywill showcase OKeeffes modernist uniforms: the Black Suit and the Wrap Dress.
OKeeffe's clothes will look especially splendid in Reynolda Houses domestic-scaled spaces, as will her paintings, drawings, and sculptures in the company of the museums superb collection of American art, says Wanda M. Corn, Robert and Ruth Halperin Professor Emerita in Art History at Stanford University, who curated the exhibition and wrote the influential and well-illustrated book that accompanies it. This is the first publication to study and showcase the artists dress along with her homes.
The idea for this exhibition arose when Corn learned that the Georgia OKeeffe Museum in Santa Fe owned dresses, coats, suits, casual wear and accessories that the artist left behind when she died in 1986. A majority of the clothing, representing 60 years of her life, comes from the Georgia OKeeffe Museum and the closets of OKeeffes two New Mexican homes. The museum now owns both houses and their belongings.
The Georgia OKeeffe who emerged from my research was an artist not only in her studio but also in her homemaking and self-fashioning, Corn said. She turned her research into an exhibition, curated for the Brooklyn Museum, where Georgia OKeeffe: Living Modern opened on March 3, 2017, and continues through July 23, before it travels to Reynolda House Museum of American Art. Its final venue will be at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, December 16, 2017 to April 1, 2018.
Exhibition curator Wanda Corn will speak at Reynolda House on August 29.