Highbrow/Lowbrow: A weekly update on Denver culture from deliciously fancy to wonderfully mundane
WHAT: “Georgia O’Keeffe in New Mexico: Architecture, Katsinam, and the Land”
The past few years I have watched Denver’s art scene flourish. Santa Fe Drive galleries are packed to their historic rafters for First Friday Art Walks, showcasing local and upcoming artists within their eclectic spaces. There are burgeoning art houses and hidden gallery gems all over the city, including one of my favorites, the Laboratory of Art and Ideas in Belmar. I credit this art boom partly to the now iconic Frederic C. Hamilton building housing Modern and Contemporary art collections. The formidable titanium landmark opened in October 2006 and since has seen many world exclusives including last years “Becoming Van Gogh,” and my personal favorite, “Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective.” Currently on display is one of Georgia O’Keeffe’s less known collections, “Georgia O’Keeffe in New Mexico: Architecture, Katsinam, and the Land.” This Denver exclusive is on exhibit until April 28, at which point the loaned collection will head back to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. I spent last Saturday taking in this unique collection.
Georgia O’Keeffe often evokes visions of enlarged flower blossoms dancing across the canvas in vivid hues of orange and blue. The iconic American painter is mostly known for these settings in which the viewer can see the power of nature and all of her elements. While this exhibit still displays nature at its most powerful, and at times vulnerable, this expansive collection challenges preconceived notions about O’Keeffe’s work.
The palette of colors move from rusts to stark black and white. The collection includes 15 pieces and reflects the time she spent in New Mexico, her love for the architecture, land, religion and Native American Culture. The Katsinam, a supernatural being in Native American culture, is the subject of many of the paintings. It reads as a vibrant love letter, both elated and forlorn, to a place where she spent a great deal of her life. This seldom-exhibited collection is not to be missed.