There are many layers to the Brooklyn Museum exhibition ‘Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern,’ as you typically find in any well-curated show. It comes to offer a new look at how the renowned artist proclaimed her progressive, independent lifestyle through a self-crafted public persona, mainly her dresses and the way she was captured through the lenses of some of the greatest photographers of the century. But I would like to focus on another layer which I found particularly intriguing when visiting the Museum this morning. The exhibition demonstrates that when a woman is that self-confident, when she is assured about her talent, about her lifestyle, taking full charge of how the world understands her identity, then her taste, her style is formed from within, emerging as the most genuine form of taste and identity. It is only women like Georgia O'Keeffe can become style icons as she was. We see her paintings, her wardrobe in pure black and white, the only colors she had ever worn, and not a single ornament. We see the only belt she has ever owned, and the only brooch, created by Alexander Calder and appearing over and over in the photos of her. We see her at her homes in photos by Ansel Adams, Annie Leibovitz, Cecil Beaton, Andy Warhol, Bruce Weber, and of course, her husband Alfred Stieglitz. And she looks real. As she gets older, the signs of the age came to add to the beauty, to the sense of purity, to her confidence. The juxtaposition of the objects and photographs is done so well, that you can truly understand how the art grew from the lifestyle and the vice versa. I loved the last section of the exhibition, which focuses on the various fashion campaigns shot either at O’Keeffe's home, or inspired by her lifestyle in the desert outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico. For that, this exhibition should be seein by every woman living (or visiting) in New York. Photographs curtesy of the Brooklyn Museum. The exhibition closes on July 23rd.
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