At the NC Museum of Art, Georgia O’Keeffe’s influence goes beyond flowers

Georgia O’Keeffe, “Petunias,” 1925, oil on hardboard, 18 x 30 in., Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Museum purchase, gift of the M. H. de Young family. Georgia O’Keeffe’s artwork is on exhibit in “The Beyond: Georgia O’Keeffe and Contemporary Art” at the North Carolina Museum of Art from Oct. 13-Jan. 20, which also shows works from artists influenced by O’Keeffe. Joe McDonald, Krause, Johansen Copyright 2018 Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

Georgia O’Keeffe’s artwork is some of the most recognizable of modern times. Even so, if you’ve never actually seen O’Keeffe’s paintings up-close and in-person, “The Beyond: Georgia O’Keeffe and Contemporary Art” is a revelation.

The show, which opens Oct. 13, brings the three-dimensional aspects of O’Keeffe’s imagery to life. By pairing her work with pieces by a wide range of younger artists for the purposes of comparing and contrasting, “The Beyond” gives a sense of O’Keeffe’s significance and place in history.

“Decades beyond her life, Georgia O’Keeffe is still having impact and influence on art,” said Linda Dougherty, chief curator at the NC Museum of Art. “Seeing her work side by side with contemporary artists makes you look at her work differently, too, with a new perspective.”

O’Keeffe lived a long and amazingly productive life, dying in 1986 at age 98. Along with desert landscapes, her best-known images remain close-cropped paintings of flowers enlarged to the edge of the frame.

Much has been made of the sexuality evoked by O’Keeffe’s flower paintings. But she meant their scale to be attention-getting.

“She began painting the flowers in 1924, when New York City was her environment,” said Lauren Applebaum, GSK curatorial fellow at the NC Museum of Art. “Blowing them up and radically cropping them was in direct response to the skyscrapers there, a way to get you to stop and look. It took that scale to compete.”

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What: “The Beyond: Georgia O’Keeffe and Contemporary Art,” ticketed with “Candida Höfer in Mexico”

Where: Meymandi Exhibition Gallery, East Building of NC Museum of Art, 2110 Blue Ridge Road, Raleigh

When: Oct. 13 through Jan. 20 (closed Mondays)

Tickets: $18 adults; $15 seniors, military, college students with ID, groups of 10 or more; $12 youth age 7 to 18; free for children 6 and under, member’s first visit, college students with ID 5-9 p.m. Fridays

Other events: There are also companion floral murals painted on the west-facing wall of the museum’s East Building and on an exterior wall of Benchmark Autoworks, at the intersection of Davie and Dawson streets in downtown Raleigh’s Warehouse District.


▪ Specialty cocktails inspired by the exhibition’s art can be found at bu-ku Raleigh, so-ca, Hummingbird, Mandolin and the NCMA’s Iris Restaurant in Raleigh; bu•ku Wake Forest in Wake Forest; Crossroads at Carolina Inn and The Crunkleton in Chapel Hill; and Jack Tar & The Colonel’s DaughterLittler and Pizzeria Toro in Durham.


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