Kalamazoo, MI (PRWEB) March 12, 2009
An exhibition of 20th-century American art that features the works of one of the nation's most beloved artists visits Kalamazoo this summer.
"Georgia O'Keeffe and Her Times: American Modernism from the Lane Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston" opens at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts on Saturday, May 9, and continues through Sunday, September 13.
Drawn from one of the greatest collections of 20th-century American art, the exhibition also includes works by Charles Sheeler, Arthur Garfield Dove, Stuart Davis, Marsden Hartley, John Marin and others.
For more than a century, the United States looked to Europe as the source of Western culture and ideas. But between 1900 and 1950, a new America - a nation of skyscrapers, jazz, the Model T, and eventually the atom bomb - would claim a dominant position on the world stage. In response, artists sought distinctly American ways of picturing this strange, exciting new century. Their inspiration came from the landscape, figures and everyday objects, which they simplified, stylized or distorted in ways previously unimaginable.
Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986) was born in Wisconsin, studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and later lived and worked in New York City. In 1916, she caught the attention of Alfred Stieglitz, who exhibited her work, used her as a model in a groundbreaking series of photographs, and married her in 1924.
The exhibition shows a range of O'Keeffe's work, from familiar to unexpected. "A Sunflower from Maggie" (1937) uses the bright palette for which she is best known, while in "Calla Lily on Grey" (1928), the colors softly fuse.
Beginning in 1929, O'Keeffe visited New Mexico each year, moving there permanently 20 years later. There, she painted the landscape, adobe architecture and dried animal bones in a precise style with thinly applied paint and nearly invisible brush strokes. In "Deer's Skull with Pedernal" (1936), she juxtaposes a skull hanging on a tree, which dominates the foreground, with a small depiction of the Pedernal, a mesa she could see from her studio, in the background. In "Patio with Black Door" (1955), O'Keeffe creates a reductive color plane that is both identifiable as the distinctive architecture of the Southwester, as well as a meditative abstraction.
O'Keeffe's work is shown in context with that of her friends and colleagues.
Equally celebrated for his paintings and photographs, Charles Sheeler was a giant figure in American Modernism. His commissions - especially one to photograph the Ford Motor Company's River Rouge plant in Michigan in 1927 - informed his work as a painter of the burgeoning industrial scene. "Ore Into Iron" (1953) represents the blast furnaces of the U.S. Steel plant in Pittsburgh, PA.
Stuart Davis, a fan of American jazz music and European Cubism, often incorporated words and commercial imagery into paintings of everyday objects: salt shakers, radio tubes, gas pumps and traffic lights. His exuberant works are characterized by a thick application of paint, vibrant colors and a sense of movement. In this exhibition, he presages Pop Art with the colorful "Egg Beater #3" (1927-28), an interlocking puzzle of abstract shapes.
Arthur Garfield Dove, among the first American artists to explore abstraction, depicts a sunrise over the water in "That Red One" (1944). He pares the composition to its essential forms, reducing it to circles, triangles and rectangles. Painted in bold, primary colors, it is an iconic summation of Dove's late work.
In "Female Corpse, Back View" (1947), Hyman Bloom paints a decomposing cadaver in beautiful, jewel-like tones, creating a paradox of ugliness and beauty. Interested in philosophy, mysticism and the occult, Bloom used distortions of form and space to suggest transcendent meaning.
The KIA is also offering an exclusive companion exhibition, "Through the Photographer's Lens: O'Keeffe and Her Circle" (May 9-September 13). Visitors will discover more about the artists behind "Georgia O'Keeffe and Her Times" with this collection of photos of O'Keeffe and her contemporaries at work and play. Taken by such renowned photographers as Alfred Stieglitz, Ansel Adams, Balthazar Korab and Yousuf Karsh, the photos are on loan from a number of museums and galleries, including the George Eastman House, New Mexico Museum of Art, Center for Creative Photography and the Evans Gallery.
Visitors can see both exhibitions with the purchase of one ticket.
Ticket prices are $8 for general admission; $6 for students, seniors and groups; and $4 for KIA members. Individual tickets are available on the day of your visit. Advance ticket sales are available for groups of 15 or more people.
On Fridays, all visitors will enjoy discounted tickets during "$4 Fridays sponsored by National City (now a part of PNC)."
Hours for this exhibition are Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; and Sunday, noon-5 p.m. The KIA is closed on Mondays and holidays.
"Georgia O'Keeffe and Her Times" is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In Kalamazoo, the exhibition is sponsored by the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation, and co-sponsored by National City (now a part of PNC), and The Tyler-Little Family Foundation.
The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, part of the community since 1924, is a non-profit visual arts museum and school. Its mission is to offer to the residents of Kalamazoo County and West Michigan quality visual arts, educational programs and services that encourage the creation and appreciation of art.