Seeing Beyond / Ver más allá explores how Georgia O’Keeffe sought out different perspectives to inspire her abstract compositions. and provides examples of O’Keeffe’s unique vision, along with experiences suggesting to the visitor new ways of seeing.
In 1970, O’Keeffe reflected on the cloud paintings she’d made in the previous decade: “I was flying and saw them—the most extraordinary things. It looked as if you could walk right out of the plane.”1 To share the experience of such a change in perspective, the Museum partnered with the Albuquerque-based design firm Electric Playhouse to create an immersive interactive environment in which projections of floating clouds respond to a person’s presence. Many people have seen clouds from airplanes; we hope that this unexpected playfulness in the Museum galleries will activate a different way of seeing them.
Framing one’s view by looking at the spaces between things is another way to achieve a new perspective. O’Keeffe’s Pelvis IV (1944) doesn’t focus on the pelvis bone itself, but rather on the sky as seen through a hole in the bone. A 3D-printed replica of this small bone provides an opportunity for visitors to use it themselves as a viewfinder.
In our busy lives, sometimes a visit to a museum results in viewing each artwork for less than 10 seconds—but how do we see something differently when we look at it longer? Another portion of Seeing Beyond focuses on O’Keeffe’s reminder to “take time to look,” inviting the viewer to spend more time with each of three O’Keeffe paintings, including The Beyond (1972). The exhibition’s audio tour offers three options for viewing each work in this section: a suggestion to view the painting silently for 60 seconds, a brief descriptive tour that guides the eyes across each painting, and an option to listen to accompanying music.
We at the O’Keeffe are excited to launch a different sort of exhibition that explores new ways to present the Museum’s collection. Watch for pop-up events associated with Seeing Beyond, and feel free to come dressed in cloud-inspired attire!
1. Glueck, Grace. “It’s Just What’s In My Head…” New York Times (18 October 1970), section 2, p. 24