Georgia O'Keeffe: Art, Image, Style
On View at PEM December 16, 2017 through April 1, 2018
Save the Date: Press Preview | Wednesday, December 13 | 6 - 7:30 PM
SALEM, MA – The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) presents one of America’s most iconic artists in a new light. Georgia O'Keeffe: Art, Image, Style is the first exhibition to explore O’Keeffe’s unified, modern aesthetic and distinctive self-styling by presenting her paintings with her never-before-exhibited handmade garments and photographs of the artist. Organized by the Brooklyn Museum and guest curator Wanda M. Corn, Robert and Ruth Halperin Professor Emerita in Art History, Stanford University, this critically-acclaimed, nationally touring exhibition is on view at PEM from December 16, 2017 through April 1, 2018.
“For more than 70 years, Georgia O’Keeffe shaped her public persona, defied labels and carved out a truly progressive, independent life in order to create her art,” says Austen Barron Bailly, organizing curator and PEM’s George Putnam Curator of American Art. “O’Keeffe recognized that how she dressed and posed for the camera could signal an alliance between her attire, her art, and her home. Her aesthetic legacy of organic silhouettes, minimal ornamentation and restrained color palettes continues to capture the popular imagination and inspire leading designers and tastemakers of today.”
Through 125 works, Georgia O'Keeffe: Art, Image, Style examines how the renowned artist adeptly crafted her image in the public eye. “O’Keeffe considered her clothed body as another canvas on which to proclaim her modernism,” says Bailly. “The exhibition expands our understanding of O'Keeffe, exploring how she expressed her identity and artistic values.” O’Keeffe’s androgynous persona, feminist outlook, stark fashion sense and skill as a seamstress combine to create a new understanding of her role as an artist and an individual.
Rejecting the staid Victorian world into which she was born, O’Keeffe absorbed the progressive principles of the Arts and Crafts Movement, which promoted the idea that everything a person made or chose to live with should reflect a unified and visually pleasing aesthetic. “O’Keeffe drew no line between the art she made and the life she lived,” notes guest curator Wanda M. Corn. “She strove to make her life a complete work of art, each piece contributing to an aesthetic whole.”
Throughout her life, O’Keeffe had strong opinions about how she wanted to look, no matter what the dress codes of the era dictated. O’Keeffe’s distinct aesthetic sensibility can be traced from her school age rebellion against prevailing feminine ornamentation; to her New York years in the 1920s and ‘30s when a black-and-white palette dominated much of her art and dress; to her later years in New Mexico, when her art and clothing changed in response to the Southwestern landscape. Whether sewn by O’Keeffe herself, custom made, or bought off the rack, she consistently favored the simple lines and abstract forms that also reverberated through her artwork and home design.
Photography played an enormous role in solidifying O’Keeffe as a pioneer of modernism as well as an immediately recognizable style icon. A multiyear, serial portrait project with her husband Alfred Stieglitz ultimately helped O’Keeffe become the most photographed American artist of the 20th century and contributed to a wider understanding of photography’s power to shape public image.
Wednesday, December 13 | 6 PM Cocktail Reception | 6:30 PM Remarks & Exhibition Tour
Please join us for a cocktail reception and exhibition preview of Georgia O'Keeffe: Art, Image, Style with Austen Barron Bailly, PEM’s George Putnam Curator of American Art and coordinating curator for the exhibition. RSVP to Paige Besse at firstname.lastname@example.org
High-resolution publicity images are available upon request.
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated, 320-page catalog written by Wanda M. Corn and is available for sale in the PEM Shop.
Share your impressions of the exhibition on social media, using #PEMOKeeffe
Georgia O'Keeffe: Art, Image, Style is organized by the Brooklyn Museum with guest curator Wanda M. Corn, Robert and Ruth Halperin Professor Emerita in Art History, Stanford University and made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts. Carolyn and Peter S. Lynch and The Lynch Foundation provided generous support. The East India Marine Associates of the Peabody Essex Museum also provided support.
Tony Vaccaro, Georgia O’Keeffe with “Pelvis Series, Red with Yellow” and the desert, 1960. Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. Courtesy of Tony Vaccaro studio.
ABOUT THE PEABODY ESSEX MUSEUM
Over the last 20 years, the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) has distinguished itself as one of the fastest-growing art museums in North America. Founded in 1799, it is also the country’s oldest continuously operating museum. At its heart is a mission to enrich and transform people's lives by broadening their perspectives, attitudes and knowledge of themselves and the wider world. PEM celebrates outstanding artistic and cultural creativity through exhibitions, programming and special events that emphasize cross-cultural connections, integrate past and present and underscore the vital importance of creative expression. The museum's collection is among the finest of its kind boasting superlative works from around the globe and across time -- including American art and architecture, Asian export art, photography, maritime art and history, Native American, Oceanic and African art. PEM's campus affords a varied and unique visitor experience with hands-on creativity zones, interactive opportunities and performance spaces. Twenty-four noted historic structures grace PEM’s campus, including Yin Yu Tang, a 200-year-old Chinese house that is the only such example of Chinese domestic architecture on display in the United States, and the Phillips Library, which holds one of the nation’s most important museum-based collections of rare books and manuscripts. HOURS: Open Tuesday-Sunday, 10 am-5 pm. Closed Mondays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. ADMISSION: Adults $20; seniors $18; students $12. Additional admission to Yin Yu Tang: $6 (plus museum admission). Members, youth 16 and under and residents of Salem enjoy free general admission and free admission to Yin Yu Tang. INFO: Call 866-745-1876 or visit pem.org
Media Relations Contacts:
Whitney Van Dyke | Director of Communications | email@example.com | 978-542-1828
Kristin Levesque | Exhibition Publicist | firstname.lastname@example.org | 207-329-3090