Another Side of O’Keeffe

In the last year, the Denver Art Museum’s taken us on a rollercoaster ride of exclusives and firsts, with the Yves Saint Laurent and van Gogh blockbusters at the forefront. And the thrills aren’t stopping any time soon: Next up is Georgia O’Keeffe, whose work — remarkably, given her stature as an artist of the West — hasn’t been featured by the museum in a major exhibition before.

Georgia O’Keeffe in New Mexico: Architecture, Katsinam and the Land, a touring show from the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, opens today, and DAM Western-art curator Thomas Smith says exhibit viewers who look beyond the initial pleasures of O’Keeffe’s paintings will find a whole side of her Southwestern work that hasn’t been examined closely until now.

“There are incredible paintings that are sort of iconically O’Keeffe — there’s one splendid painting of a ram’s head with a flower that is so charming. But there’s also a series of paintings of Hopi kachinas she did, and this is something that has not been studied or exhibited much,” Smith says. “It wasn’t examined hardly at all during her lifetime, and this marks the first time anyone’s taken a critical look at these really engaging pieces.”

Because the DAM boasts such an extensive Native American collection, he notes, it has also added its own take on the sacred kachinas — or Katsina Tithu — images by including actual kachina figures, as well as modern Hopi works, in the overall show presentation.

Georgia O’Keeffe in New Mexico continues through April 28 at the DAM, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway; the exhibit is included in the regular price of admission, $5 to $13 (children under six are free). For more information, go to or call 720-865-5000.
Tuesdays-Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Fridays, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Starts: Feb. 10. Continues through April 28, 2013