“If you don’t know Georgia, you don’t know American art,” says Will South, chief curator at the Columbia Museum of Art (CMA). But years before Georgia O’Keeffe was lauded for her oil-painted flowers, she found herself amidst the swamps, forests, and waterways of the South Carolina Midlands.
While teaching at Columbia College in the fall of 1915, O’Keeffe began straying from realism and experimenting with her subjective experiences of nature. “It was a critical period in her career,” South explains, “and it happened right here.”
The result was a series of charcoal abstracts that she entitled Specials. Anita Pollitzer (a Charleston-bred women’s rights activist with whom O’Keeffe studied at Columbia University) showed the drawings to New York City modern art promoter and photographer Alfred Stieglitz, and the rest is fine-art history.
A century later, CMA presents “Georgia O’Keeffe: Her Carolina Story,” the first exhibit inspired by Specials. Look for related events all month, including ”A Night of Anita” discussion on December 7.
Go visit: The exhibit is on view at the Columbia Museum of Art, 1515 Main St., Columbia, through January 10. For tickets ($12; $10 senior/military; $5 student; free for child under six) and info, call (803) 799-2810 or visit www.columbiamuseum.org.