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Indepth Arts News:

"Views of the City: 1910–1949"
2000-11-14 until 2001-03-14
Georgia O'Keefe Museum
Santa Fe, NM, USA

Views of the City: 1910–1949 brings together a selection of OKeeffes important New York City pictures with approximately 55 photographs, works on paper and paintings of the city by 28 of her contemporaries from more than 35 major private and public collections. The exhibition demonstrates the ways in which OKeeffe and a number of other artists working in New York responded to and interpreted the transformation of the environment into a modern city of skyscrapers.

Museum director George G. King said, This exhibition provides the viewer a wonderful opportunity to learn more about Georgia OKeeffe, her colleagues, and their varied interpretations of this countrys most modern of cities.

By 1910, New York City had become a beacon for artists from all over America and the world who were drawn to its vitality and the power of its modern vision. The rapidly evolving city became the subject matter for the artists living and working there. Artists who wanted to connect with the modernity of a new era interpreted in both representational and abstract ways the dramatic views of New York City, including the soaring skyscrapers, expansive bridges, industrial riverscapes, and emerging skyline. These interpretations could be both heroic and celebratory, as seen in OKeeffes paintings of skyscrapers and Joseph Stellas paintings of the Brooklyn Bridge, or they could be formal and matter-of-fact, as seen in the flat, sharply defined, precisionist paintings of city architecture by Charles Sheeler and Niles Spencer.

Of the exhibit, curator Barbara Buhler Lynes said, This is a very exciting exhibition in that it brings together so many first-rate pictures of the city by OKeeffe and her contemporaries. Views of the City focuses on OKeeffes unique interpretation of the buildings, bridges, and river views of New York and on those of other important artists working in the city during this period. OKeeffes paintings of skyscrapers—including A Street (1926), The Shelton with Sunspots (1926), and New York Street with Moon (1928)—are seen along with paintings on the same subject by others, including Samuel Halperts The Flatiron Building (1919) and Charles Sheelers Skyscrapers (1922), as well as photographs by Berenice Abbott Murray Hill Hotel, Park Avenue at 41st Street, (1935) and Margaret Bourke-White, Chrysler Building, (c. 1930).

OKeeffes Brooklyn Bridge (1949) is complemented by the bridge interpretations of painters Elsie Driggs,( Queensborough Bridge, 1927), and Joseph Stella, (American Landscape, 1929), and photographers Paul Grotz, Untitled [Brooklyn Bridge] (1929), and Walker Evans, (Brooklyn Bridge, 1929). OKeeffes East River from the 30th Story of the Shelton Hotel (1928) is exhibited with river views by painter Stuart Davis (A River View, 1913), and photographer Alvin Landgon Coburn (Brooklyn Bridge, New York , a. 1912), among others.

Not all the works in this exhibition are visual interpretations. Some are evocations of the citys kinetic energy, rhythms, and power. This is particularly true of OKeeffes New York—Night (1926), Max Webers New York Department Store (1915), John Marins Lower Manhattan (1920), and Charles Demuths Incense of a New Church (1921).

Organized by Museum Curator and noted OKeeffe scholar Barbara Buhler Lynes, this is the third in a series of exhibitions at the Georgia OKeeffe Museum whose purpose is to heighten viewer awareness of the nature of the modernist movement in America and OKeeffes place in it.

Georgia OKeeffe
Abstraction White, 1927
Oil on Canvas - 34 x 14 in.
Collection: Private Foundation, 1997, extended loan, Georgia OKeeffe Museum

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