The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and the Modern Art Museum Fort Worth are co-organizing an exhibition of the work of Susan Rothenberg, one of America’s best-known living artists, who, like Georgia O’Keeffe, left New York at mid-career to make New Mexico her primary residence. Each has established a significant place and artistic identity in the American Southwest, an area initially defined as a male domain in that the majority of its early Anglo visitors and inhabitants — explorers, ethnographers, photographers, traders, cattle ranchers, and cowboys — were men. Open January 22, 2010 – May 16, 2010.
Susan Rothenberg, “Red,· 2008 Oil on canvas 55 x 57 ½ inches (140 x 146.1 cm.) Private collection. Courtesy Sperone Westwater, New York
O’Keeffe and Rothenberg also have achieved a place of prominence as painters in the larger American art community that has historically privileged the work of male painters. And, each has created imagery that has become iconic – O’Keeffe in her depictions of inanimate natural forms (flowers, bones, and landscape configurations) and Rothenberg with in her presentation of the horse, a subject with strong, gendered associations with the American West. Moreover, in creating work that addresses and synthesizes the opposing forces of abstraction and representation, each artist has significantly changed and advanced the dialogue between these two polarities of artistic expression that in one way or another characterize major developments in American art since the early years of the twentieth century.
Michael Auping, Chief Curator, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth will be the curator for a small, focused exhibition of approximately 10 to 12 Rothenberg works that elucidates specific aspects of the issues outlined above, an exhibition that will open at the Modern Art Museum in 2010 or 2011 and then be on view at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum as part of the institution’s “Living Artists of Distinction” series. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue that will include essays by Auping and Barbara Buhler Lynes, Chief Curator, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. Auping’s essay will explore the thematic unity and iconic character of Rothenberg’s work, while the essay by Lynes will speak to the relationship between the work and life of these two American artists and the gender issues that their imagery and presence in the American Southwest raise.
Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. 217 Johnson Street, Santa Fe, NM. 505.946.1000