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On view at the Montclair Art Museum in New Jersey through January 20, 2013, Georgia O’Keeffe in New Mexico: Architecture, Katsinam, and the Land focuses on Georgia O’Keeffe’s (1887-1986) life from 1929 to 1953. During this time, O’Keeffe lived in New Mexico and found herself enthralled by her surroundings as well as the Native American and Hispano cultures of the region.

While O’Keeffe’s early career as one of the first American abstract painters and her relationship with American photographer and art dealer Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946) have been examined at length, O’Keeffe’s time in New Mexico has been less studied. The exhibition at the Montclair Art Museum features over 30 paintings and works on paper depicting New Mexico’s local architecture and landscape. From 1931 to 1945, O’Keeffe created numerous drawings, watercolors, and paintings of Kachina dolls (or Katsinam), which are carved representations of Hopi spirit beings. The exhibition includes 15 of these works, which are presented alongside actual Kachina dolls.

The Montclair Museum of Art will compliment Georgia O’Keeffe in New Mexico with a small presentation of three O’Keeffe works from a private collection including two oil paintings, Black Petunia and White Morning Glory 1 and Inside Clam Shell, and one pastel on paper, titled Pink Camellia.

The exhibition at the Montclair Art Museum was organized by the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico and will travel to the Denver Art Museum (February 10-April 28, 2013), the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum (May 17-September 8, 2013), and the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona (September 27, 2013-January 12, 2014) after its run in New Jersey.

Published in News
Sunday, 07 February 2010 05:36

New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe

During the early twentieth century, New Mexican archeologist and Museum of New Mexico founder, Edgar Lee Hewett, began holding art shows in Santa Fe’s historic Palace of the Governors. In an effort to better promote art in the surrounding region, Hewett and other well-placed archeologists began lobbying for an independent exhibition space. Their labors were rewarded and in 1917 an art gallery by the architectural duo Rapp and Rapp was added to the Museum of New Mexico, which had been established eight years earlier. Celebrated for the New Mexico pavilion they built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, Rapp and Rapp based their design for what is now the New Mexico Museum of Art (NMMoA), on traditional New Mexico aesthetics. Using the 300-year-old mission churches at Acoma and other pueblos as inspiration, the building, which is meant to exude a sense of earthy simplicity, helped to establish the Pueblo Spanish Revival Style of architecture for which Santa Fe is known for.

Since the gallery’s inception, the work of local artists has maintained precedence. The 20,000+ piece collection is primarily comprised of art from the Southwest, particularly New Mexico, or made by artists who worked, lived, or were inspired by visits to the region. Because of New Mexico’s bustling tourism industry, the area’s art scene acts as a melting pot of sorts, pulling inspiration from Native American, Hispanic, and European-based cultures. Housing a sweeping collection that is unique, eclectic, and loyal to its origins, the museum reflects the many styles, forms, and faces that have come to define the art of New Mexico.The NMMoA is part of a consortium of four museums and six historical monuments located within the state. The grouping is regarded collectively as the Museum of New Mexico (taken from Hewett’s initial venture) with the New Mexico Museum of Art fulfilling the role as the state’s foremost art museum. The museum’s works are broken into subgroups. Viewed together, they communicate New Mexico’s identity as a place where natives, adventurers, and settlers converge. The Political Outlooks collection explores such region-specific issues as locals versus tourists. Illustrated in John Sloan’s Music in the Plaza (Plaza, Evening, Santa Fe), the dichotomy is exemplified through styles of dress—locals sport Southwestern-inspired hats and dresses while tourists model more traditional period attire. A neutral scene, the painting shows a commingling of cultures, a notion that is explored further in the Defining New Mexico collection. The Landscape collection captures the area’s natural beauty, part of the allure that has drawn so many artists and tourists to New Mexico. Leon Kroll’s Santa Fe Hills shows rolling knolls and pueblos that seem to grow out of the earth; two aesthetic traits that are often associated with Santa Fe. However, everything from the majestic Sierra peaks to the barren deserts is represented in this assortment of works.The remaining pieces make up collections such as Famous New Mexico Artists, which features works by Georgia O’Keeffe, Elliot Porter, and Gustave Baumann, as well as the Special Collections section which is an amalgamation of donated collections belonging to such art world luminaries as Lucy Lippard and Elliot Porter as well as the New Deal Art Collection, a repository of New Deal Art by New Mexico artists.Collections like “Art You Didn't Expect," "Cool Contemporary," and “Aesthetic Fusions” explore the more modern happenings as well as the future of New Mexico art. “Art You Didn’t Expect” showcases important international works by, among others, Paul Cezanne, Salvador Dali, and Francis Bacon. “Cool Contemporary” and “Aesthetic Fusions” touch on the evolution of New Mexico’s art niche—demonstrating how an aesthetic steeped in tradition and history can still be influenced by other cultures and practices, subsequently morphing and developing in new ways while still maintaining its own, recognizable identity.     In addition to the expansive collection, the New Mexico Museum of Art houses the Western Sculpture Garden and the O’Shaugnessey Sculpture Garden. In conjunction with the Department of Cultural Affairs, the museum also runs an outreach facility located in the State Capitol. Known as the Governor’s Gallery, six exhibitions are mounted a year, featuring work by prominent living New Mexico Artists. For information on current exhibitions, visit the museum website. In addition to learning about current and upcoming gallery exhibitions, you can also view exclusive online exhibitions. The museum is located at 107 West Palace Avenue, Sante Fe, New Mexico. For general information call 505.476.5072.  The above was written by my colleague, Brittany Good.
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