100 Years of Georgia O’Keeffe
Though little known and usually unappreciated outside of this country, Georgia O’Keeffe occupies a special place in America as almost everyone’s favorite painter. It is hard to think of a modern artist, with the possible exception of Alexander Calder, whose work is so much loved by people who profess to know nothing about modern art. Her paintings, reproduced on posters and post cards, have become as familiar to museum visitors as Van Gogh’s ubiquitous sunflowers. A centennial exhibit of her work is making the rounds of major American museums this year and will visit the Dallas Museum of Art this month.
Despite O’Keeffe’s familiarity, the selection of more than one hundred drawings, watercolors, and oils in this exhibit yields a few surprises. The sheer number of purely abstract works on display, for example, is unexpected, a reminder that O’Keeffe started out as an abstract painter and that through much of her early career she shifted regularly from abstraction to representation and back, as if neither offered a completely satisfying account of what she saw in her head. Only when she was able to combine the two, giving her representational work the strength of abstraction and anchoring her abstraction in the real world, did she find a style that was truly her own.
O’Keeffe’s teacher, Arthur Dow, taught her that the object of art is to fill space beautifully, and her earliest charcoal drawings and those paintings she called “Specials” (or simply titled with a number) did just that, filling space with abstract swirls, shafts, and arabesques of pure color. In a stunning group of watercolors made in 1917, just after she had arrived in Amarillo. Texas, to teach school, O’Keeffe found those same swirls and arabesques in the curl of smoke trailing behind a train at dawn, in the multicolored aura surrounding the morning star, and in the tumbled rock and vegetation down the slopes of a mesa.
And the watercolors are the show’s glory. Though the oils are best known, O’Keeffe’s watercolors easily place her among the American masters-Marin, Homer-of this most American of media. The watercolors of flowers, in which the colors burn with a gemlike intensity, will come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the oils. Despite the close-up, almost sexual vistas of lilies and poppies O’Keeffe created in the more famous oils-granting, it seems, a bee’s view of a flower-it is the watercolors that seem more intimate, more personal. Besides flowers, the exhibit focuses on other themes for which O’Keeffe is best known: clouds, bones, and shells.
The show also includes a couple of deft figure studies in watercolor that suggest what O’Keeffe might have done had she chosen to pursue that subject.
And, of course, mere is the land-her land-the American Southwest desert that she made peculiarly her own. Artists had been traveling to New Mexico for years to paint its canyons and mesas. But they only traveled to the land, O’Keeffe was, in some unfathomable way, of the land. Although she was born in Wisconsin and had adapted happily enough to life in the towers of Manhattan with the formidable Alfred Stieglitz, New Mexico was her true home from the day she first set eyes on it in 1929. “My world,” she called it.
The hawklike acuity of her vision, the precision and evenness with which she handled paint-she liked to remind visitors that Mexican women applied the final, smooth coats of adobe to a house-fitted her chosen subject and gave her works a kind of immanence, as though they were as much products of meditation as of handiwork.
Much can be made of O’Keeffe’s role as apioneer modernist, but deep down, she wasright out of the 19th century. She had thatspecial American sense of something special, something divine, in the land itself.Through October 16 at the Dallas Museumof Art. 1717 N Harwood. Tue, Wed. Fri. Sat10-5 pm, Thur 10-9 pm, Sun noon-5 pm.922-0220. – Ken Barrow
Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. From Lugano, Switzerland, comes this king’s ransom of 121 gold and silver objects, including enameled and jeweled snuff boxes, cups. tableware, and tureens. Through August 21 at the Kimbell Art Museum, 3333 Camp Bowie, Fort Worth, Tue-Sat 10-5 pm, Sun 11-5 pm (817) .132-8451.
Spirits of New Ireland. Acquisitive Westerners have saved these intricate, sophisticated-and sometimes spooky-objects that were carved by the Melanesian people of New Ireland for their weeks-long religious festivals and then abandoned. Through September 4 at the Kimbell Art Museum, 3333 Camp Bowie, Fort Worth. Tue-Sat 10-5 pm, Sun 11-5 pm. (817) 332-8451.
Richard Serra. Serra’s work has been the center of lawsuits, public hearings, and shouting matches since it first appeared in public places in New York City. A smaller, more lyrical, but no less powerful Serra, My Curves Are Not Mad, in the plaza in front of the Dallas Museum of Art, gives Dallas art lovers a chance to see what the shouting was about. On long-term loan at the museum, 1717 N Harwood. Tue. Wed. Fri, Sat 10-5 pm. Thur 10-9 pm, Sun noon-5 pm. 922-0220.
A Folk-Art Sampler. From toys and decoys to coverlets and cigar store Indians, here is the cream of the collection assembled by the famous Shelburne Museum in Vermont. Through September 4 at the Amon Carter Museum, 3501 Camp Bowie, Fort Worth. Tue-Sat 10-5 pm. Sun 1-5:30 pm. (817) 738-1933.
Salt of the Earth. When it rains, it pours. Craftsmen, craftswomen, and artists turn their attention to those humble, but necessary objects, salt and pepper shakers, with often intriguing results. August 1-31 at Absolutely Necessary, 4421 Lovers Lane. Mon-Fri 10-6 pm, Sat 10-5:30 pm. 520-6238.
Jorge Castillo. A monumental, forged iron-plate sculpture, ’Mujer Toro” (Woman-Bull), by this major contemporary Spanish artist, goes on long-term exhibit courtesy Adams-Middleton Gallery. Through December 31 on the main quad at SMU. 692-3510.
American Collection. Time to get out the permanent collection-abstract expressionism, geometric abstraction, pop, contemporary art-and see how it stacks up. And it does so very well, indeed. Through September 4 at the Modern An Museum of Fort Worth, 1309 Montgomery, Fort Worth. Tue-Sat 10-5 pm. Sun 1-5 pm. (817) 738-9215.
This Cole Porter extravaganza in the Dallas Summer Musicals season stars Chita Rivera and the Radio City Rockettes. August 2-14. The last show of the summer is “Grease,” the musical that tries to reconstruct the Fifties, starring Jack Wagner. August 16-28. Tue-Sat at 8:15 pm. Sat and Sun at 2:30 pm. Tickets $5-$35. State Fair Music Hall, Fair Park. 787-2000.
Coyote Ugly. Lynn Seifert’s outrageous comedy about a country boy who returns home for a family reunion will probably be rendered even more outrageous by the direction of the wild and inventive Kyle McClaran. Through August 6. Thur-Sat at 8:15 pm. Tickets $9.50. Addison Centre Theatre. 15600 Julian. Addison. 934-390.
Housewives. Anne Clayton’s new comedy about women balancing homes arid careers. Through August 20. Wad-Fri at 8:15 pm, Sat at 5 & 9 pm. Tickets $10-$I2, optional din-nef $7. Stage West, 821 Vickery. Fort Worth. (817) 332-6238.
On Goiden Pond. Ernest Thompson’s comedy-drama about an aging couple is a mo re-conventional-than-usual choke for this company. Through August 13. Thur-Sat at 8 pm, Sun at 7 pm. Tickets $6.50-$8.50, $2 discount for senior citizens and children. Greenville Avenue Pocket Sandwich Theatre, 1611 Greenville. 821-4643.
Taking Steps. A contemporary English farce by Alan Ayckbourn that interweaves a seductive ghost, a real estate agent, and a couple whose marriage is faltering, August 27-October 8. Mon-Sat at 8:15 pm, Sun at 2:30 & 7:30 pm, Sal at 3:30 pm. Tickets $5-$19.75. Theatre Three, in the Quadrangle, 2800 Routh St. 871-3300.
Hunting Cockroaches. Two famous Polish artists immigrate to New York where they discover a few worms in the Big Apple. Through August 20. Mon-Sat at 8:15 pm, Sun at 2:30 & 7:30 pm. Sat at 3:30 pm. Tickets $5-$19.75. Theatre Three, in the Quadrangle. 2800 Routh St. 871-3300.
Anything Goes. Van Johnson stars in this revival of Cole Porter’s classic musical, which includes songs like “You’re the Top” and “I Get a Kick Out of You.” August 8-20. The summer musical season continues with Rodgers and Ham-mersteirTs “Carousel,” through August 6, and concludes with the longest-running musical in Broadway history. “A Chorus Line.” August 22-September 3. All performances Mon-Sat at 8:15 pm, Sat at 2 pm. Tickets $13-$17. Casa Manana, 3101 West Lancaster, Fort Worth. (817) 332-6221.
A Lif’ Green Fall. The latest in the decade-long series of plays by Johnny Simons with songs by Doug Balentine. August 19-September 18. Fri-Sun at 9 pm. Tickets $8 Fri, $10 Sat, $6 Sun. Discounts for senior citizens, students, and children under twelve. Hip Pocket Theatre, Oak Acres Amphitheatre, 1620 Las Vegas Trail N. one block north of Hwy 820. Fort Worth. (817) 927-2833.
ShakuntalB. Of the great classics of world drama, this ancient play from India is probably the least known on Western stages. Through August 13. Fri and Sat at 7:00 pm. Tickets $12. Caravan of Dreams. 312 Houston. Fort Worth. (817) 877-3000 or metro 429-4000.
Show Boat. This great show by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein founded the serious, story-telling American musical. August 4-September 5. Fri and Sat at 8 pm; Sat, Sun, and Labor Day at 2 pm. Tickets $9-$11. 116 E Granbury on the square, Granbury. (817) 573-9191 or metro 572-0881.
The Mikado. The Lyric Opera of Dallas revives its splendid production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most popular operetta as. its closing performance of the season. Three years ago, this was the most enjoyable entertainment in Dallas all summer. August 5-14. Wed, Fri, Sat at 8:15 pm, Sun at 2:30 pm. Tickets $10-$34.50. Majestic Theatre. 1925 Elm. 522-5653.
Superconductivity and Cryogenics. Come explore what has become a hot science topic: the effects of extreme cold on electricity. Through November 30, at Science Place II in Fair Park, Robert B Cullum Blvd and Pennsylvania. Tue-Sat 9:30-5:30 pm. Sun noon-5:30 pm. Tickets $1 for adults. 50 cents for children seven to sixteen, free under seven. 428-8352.
Shroud of Turin. An exhibit featuring the biblical shroud will be on display at the University of Dallas Haggerty Art Center, 1845 E Northgate Drive, Irving. The exhibit includes Vernon Millers photographic replica of the shroud, two large negatives from 1931. and “Silent Witness,” a British documentary video about the shroud. Through August 20. Mon 9-4 pm, Tue-Thur 8-noon. Free. 721-5319.
India and Physics. Visit the India: Festival of Science exhibit and explore the Indian culture through September 18. The exhibit focuses on India’s role in mathematics, astronomy, medicine, transportation, agriculture, music, and crafts in a celebration of the Festival of India. Be sure to venture into Tops and explore the world of physics, explained through tops and yo-yos. You may even learn the secret to that yo-yo trick you’ve been trying to master. August 5-October 1. Science Place I, 1318 Second Avenue, Fair Park. Both exhibits Tue-Sun 9:30-5:30 pm. Admission S3 for adults. $2 for children seven to sixteen and senior citizens, free under seven. 428-7200.
Comedy Tour. Laugh it up for your health and the health of others. August 16-21 at a benefit for multiple sclerosis at The Improv Comedy Club, 9810 N Central Expwy. Head-liner John Mulroony and opener Hal Spear, will provide the entertainment. Proceeds, as well as a donation from White Mountain Coolers, will be given to the local MS chapter. Sun-Thur at 8:30 pm, doors open at 7 pm; Fri and Sat at 8:30 & 10:45 pm. doors open at 6:30 pm. Tickets $4 Mon, $6 Tue-Thur, $8 Fri and Sat, at the door. Dinner served nightly. 404-8501.
StarBase. You have landed on the planet Photon. Prepare to defend yourself in the game of StarBase. This spinoff of Garland’s Photon is the newest addition to the West End Marketplace. The game uses simulated laser beams and computer-based helmets (the computer lets you know how you’re doing) to assist defenders of Photon in capturing the opponents’ home base. In addition to their opponents, players will also have to watch out from above, as spectators can take potshots at those below for a dollar, 11 am-midnight. every day. S3 per play (plus a one-time $6 passport card). 4’6″ height limit. West End Marketplace. fourth floor. 954-4120.
It’s a dog-eat-dog competition as the Southwest Regional Cycle Dog Foods Frisbee Championship heats up Saturday, August 27. The championship will include dogs from Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana. Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. All frisbee-fanatic dogs are eligible-just show up at Samuell-Grand Park, 6200 E Grand, at 9 am. Spectators can view the canine competition from 9-1 pm. Admission and registration are free. 670-7115.
Texas Rangers. The Rangers’ spring dreams usually become grim realities by August. Still, this month brings a parade of the AL’s brightest stars-Jack Morris, George Brett. Frank Viola, Cory Snyder-to enjoy while we wait till next year. Arlington Stadium. 1-30 and Stadium Dr. Arlington. General admission tickets $4, $2 for kids thirteen and under. (817) 273-5000.
Aug 5-7 Cleveland 7:35
8-10 Detroit 7:35
22-24 Kansas City 7:35
26-28 Toronto 7:35
29-31 Minnesota 7:35
Dallas Cowboys. Are the Cowboys in a free fall toward the NFL basement, or just caught in a temporary downdraft? Will Herschel minus Tony equal success? Well start finding out. this month. Texas Stadium, 2401 E Airport Frwy, Irving. Tickets $24.85 through Rainbow-TicketMaster, 787-2000, or through Texas Stadium Ticket Office. 556-2500.
Aug 22 Chicago 7:00 (preseason)
27 Houston 8:00 (preseason)
Willow Bend Polo. Diehard fans and inquisitive newcomers can enjoy the fail polo season at Willow Bend beginning August 28 at 5 pm. Show up an hour early and learn theins and outs of polo. Willow Bend Polo and Hunt Club, 5845W Park Blvd (FM 544). Piano. General admission tickets$6, free for kids twelve and under. 248-6298.