Where We Are Audio Guide Playlist
Narrator: With its soft, petal-like folds, this painting by Georgia O’Keeffe seems floral—but it doesn’t depict any particular flower. It’s an abstraction that the artist has rooted in natural form. When O’Keeffe painted this canvas in 1918, abstract art was very new and radical: the first fully abstract paintings had been made only eight years earlier. But the title that O’Keeffe has given this work—Music Pink and Blue—hints that the ideas behind abstract art were already part of western culture. It had long been understood that music was expressive—even when it had no narrative or representational content. By likening her painting to music, O’Keeffe suggests that pure form and color can have expressive power too.
Wanda Corn: One of the features of this painting is the beautiful sense of movement that you have where nothing is static in the picture.
Narrator: Wanda Corn is a historian of American art.
Wanda Corn: You feel as if every form is breathing and opening up to the form next to it. This was a very important concept of keeping forms in the stage of becoming. This was something that artists tried to do in their abstractions in the late teens, and O'Keeffe is responding to that notion of time not stopping, of there being a constant movement in the work itself.
From early on, critics found feminized forms in O’Keeffe’s paintings. To hear Wanda Corn discuss the artist’s reaction to these comments, tap your screen now.
Georgia O'Keeffe (1887–1986), Music, Pink and Blue No. 2, 1918. Oil on canvas, 35 x 29 15/16 in. (88.9 x 76 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Emily Fisher Landau in honor of Tom Armstrong 91.90. © The Georgia O'Keeffe Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
- 700 Introduction to Where We Are
- 701 Jacob Lawrence, War Series, 1946-47
- 702 Georgia O'Keeffe, Music, Pink and Blue No. 2, 1918
- 702-2 Georgia O'Keeffe, Music, Pink and Blue No. 2, 1918
- 703 Marsden Hartley, Painting, Number 5, 1914–1915
- 710 Morris Louis, Tet, 1958
- 710-2 Morris Louis, Tet, 1958
- 711 Jay DeFeo, The Eyes, 1958
- 712 Barnett Newman, Day One, 1951-52
- 713 Joseph Stella, The Brooklyn Bridge: Variation on an Old Theme, 1939
- 721 Henry Koerner, Mirror of Life, 1946
- 721-2 Henry Koerner, Mirror of Life, 1946
- 722 Edward Hopper, New York Interior, 1921
- 723 James Castle, Drawings
- 730 Archibald Motley, Gettin' Religion, 1948
- 731 Arshile Gorky, The Artist and His Mother, 1926-c.1936
- 732 Thomas Hart Benton, Poker Night (from A Streetcar Named Desire), 1948
- 740 Charles Sheeler, River Rouge Plant, 1932
- 741 Elsie Driggs, Pittsburgh, 1927
- 742 Elizabeth Catlett, Prints
- 743 Frank Stella, Die Fahne hoch!, 1959
- 744 Charles Demuth, My Egypt, 1927
- 750 Jasper Johns, Three Flags, 1958
- 750-2 Jasper Johns, Three Flags, 1958
- 751 Isamu Noguchi, Humpty Dumpty, 1946
- 752 Edward Hopper, Early Sunday Morning, 1931
- 752-2 Edward Hopper, Early Sunday Morning, 1931