I went to the Georgia O’Keeffe museum in Santa Fe and it was a little disappointing – her art’s not that great, what I enjoyed most were quotes of hers written on the walls. Comments like – she found New Mexico so beautiful that she didn’t want people to come, she wanted to keep it to herself. I appreciate that type of selfishness – some things I like to share, a lot of things I don’t.
Then there was the reason she started to paint big flowers – because big, they’d be different, and New York (art market) might notice. I guess they did. And all the Cala lilies which she’s so famous for were done out of disinterest – she couldn’t figure why people tended to love them or hate them, so she decided to explore them.
This show was more disappointing to me because it followed quick on the heels of my viewing of the women’s art gallery in DC – disappointing work and not much of it, which the exception of Judy Chicago (one piece). Showcased women’s work is often disappointing and meagre in number.
Quite a different case was some of the art done by local artists at the Sante Fe State Fair – some wonderful art by men and women alike, and those who painted Cala lilies did them quite as good as O’Keeffe.
Oh yes, a couple of very strong impressions I got about O’Keeffe’s work – she didn’t know what good sex was, and she came from a very unthreatened place, had not known much hardship in her life and had never been physically attacked. I’d be very surprised if I was wrong.