“Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern,” on exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art through March 3, 2019, offers a unique look into the fascinating connections between the paintings, personal style, and public persona of one of America’s most iconic artists. Throughout her 70-year career, O’Keeffe defied convention and forged a fiercely independent identity that was integral to her art. Showcasing several of her paintings alongside her garments — many shown here for the first time — and photographic portraits of her as a subject, the exhibition reveals O’Keeffe’s determination to be strikingly modern not only in her art but in her life.
The exhibition is organized in sections that run the gamut from her early years — when she crafted a signature style of clothing that dispensed with ornamentation — to her blossoming career in New York during the 1920s and 1930s, when a black-and-white palette dominated much of her art and dress, and to her mature years in New Mexico, where her art and clothing changed in response to the surrounding colors of the American Southwest. The final section explores the significant role photography played in establishing O’Keeffe’s celebrity, when younger generations of artists visited her, solidifying her status as a pioneer of modernism and as a contemporary style icon.