Cfile is based in Santa Fe, NM, a culturally active town of 80,000 people, 14 museums and a international Opera season. In the past month is had show, three major exhibitions that could have graced a New York Gallery: Denmark’s Bodil Manz’s largest US show with her daughter, a leading designer, Cecilie; Ken Price with Georgia O’Keeffe, and a large exhibition by Jun Kaneko. Add to that an exhibition touring the US (now at the Gardiner Museum, Toronto after New York) by Santa Fe artist, Cannupa Hanska Luger, and stunning new work by Kukuli Velarde.
SANTA FE—As part of its ongoing Contemporary Voices series, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum is featuring works by ceramic artist Ken Price (1935- 2012). This striking installation is a selection of Price’s sculptures, presented in dialogue with art by Georgia O’Keeffe.
When I first heard of this exhibition I thought, “nice.” I expected it to pleasurable and maybe a little obvious. It was pleasant surprise to enter the museum on opening night and be confronted with a two-artists rapture.
The O’Keeffe Museum’s Curator of Fine Art, Ariel Plotek’s central concept was is how each artist represented the natural world.
“The New Mexican landscape was creative launching point for Price and O’Keeffe. Each took that inspiration in bold directions. By pairing these two 20th century artists together, audiences will have a sense of the spectacular environment that fueled their imaginations. Price’s close ties to the Taos, New Mexico, region are explored alongside O’Keeffe’s depictions of the Southwest.
The organic, sensual forms and colors of Price’s sculptures are juxtaposed with O’Keeffe’s still life and landscape subjects. Additionally, a selection of Price’s works on paper will pair with watercolors by O’Keeffe. Even visitors who think they know these two artists well will have the chance to see each in a new light.”
That a bold assertion. However, it true and I left with my view of each transformed. The show works so well because of Plotek’s sotto voce placement of Price’s ceramics. There are only one or two in a gallery surrounded by O’Keeffe works on canvas and paper. One would expect him to be minimized, but working in a more acid palette than O’Keeffe, he boldly holds his own. And on every return visit (there have been many), the voltage in electricity between the two artists rises.
The connections between the two are several, but their strongest that is every day they woke up to same mountain light and to the polychromatic vistas of New Mexico. Polychromatic? Short-term visitors see only uniform beige and brown. But the longer one stays the more the color emerges, strata of red, blue, purple and pink. Then comes the desert flowers, different ones on Spring, Summer and Fall.
At first the idea seems obvious, easy, but given Plotek’s understated presentation it is a marvel, the longer one stays the more its magic seeps in.
Contemporary Voices: Ken Price will be on view at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe through October 27, 2019. For general information, and for details about related programming, please visit gokm.org.
About Ken Price: After studying ceramics in California and New York, Price received his first major solo show in Los Angeles in 1960. Within a few years, Price’s sculptures had earned him a devoted following among critics and artists alike, and he became a leading figure in contemporary ceramic art. In 1970, Price moved to Taos, and would maintain a connection to the area for the rest of his life. Price is represented by Matthew Marks Gallery.
About the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum: To inspire all current and future generations, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum preserves, presents and advances the artistic legacy of Georgia O’Keeffe and modernism through innovative public engagement, education, and research. Opened in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1997, the Museum counts O’Keeffe’s two New Mexico homes as part of its extended collection. The Museum’s collections, exhibitions, research center, publications and educational programs contribute to scholarly discourse and serve a diverse audience. The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum presents an ongoing series of thematic galleries exploring the career of the artist through her artwork, art materials, archives, and the landscapes and experiences that defined her life, on view throughout 2019.