When most of us think about O’Keefe’s work two things come to mind, deserts and vaginas, but when is a flower a flower and why isn’t that good enough? Georgia O’Keefe repeatedly denied that her flowers were anything more than what they were.
Art promoter, photographer and later O’Keefe’s husband, Alfred Steiglitz, first promoted her work as such and in the Freudian thought of the time, could it be any less? Then in the 1970’s the feminists, with whom I identify, reaffirmed it.
Today we grapple with labels and ideas everyday that are not what they purport to be. Sixty years of denial from the artist and an insistence that she was an artist and not a woman artist or a feminist should make us reevaluate the need for labels. We are not what they tell us we are. We do not need to see images and be told what we are seeing.
“When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not. ” – Georgia O’Keeffe
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