Georgia O’Keeffe wrote “I have things in my head that are not like what anyone has taught me,” explaining her early work in abstraction. While artists like Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, Kasimir Malevich, and others are often identified with some of the earliest experiments in abstraction, O’Keeffe was simultaneously creating abstract drawings she called “Specials” while she worked isolated from the larger art world as an art teacher, first in South Carolina and then in west Texas. Her early explorations of abstraction carried through her work for the rest of her life, even in works with recognizable subjects, through framing, magnification, and simplification. In this talk, curator Ariel Plotek will examine Georgia O’Keeffe’s long relationship with abstraction in her work, and will discuss the museum’s upcoming exhibition on the subject: Radical Abstraction, opening at the museum in December 2022.
About the speaker
Ariel Plotek is Curator of Fine Art at the Georgia O’Keeffe. Among his recent projects are Georgia O’Keeffe: A Life Well Lived, an installation of photographs taken in 1977 by Malcolm Varon, and an exhibition in the museum’s Contemporary Voices series that paired paintings by Josephine Halvorson (the museum’s first artist in residence) with works by Georgia O’Keeffe.