Georgia O'Keefe and Ansel Adams at the SFMOMA: Not So Spicy


We finally got to SFMOMA's new Georgia O'Keefe and Ansel Adams exhibit, which focuses on the friendship that sprung up between the two during a stint in New Mexico. It's supposed to display the effects of their mutually beneficial, non-sexual relationship on their respective works. Fair enough, but it's kind of a replay. The show's very similar to one a few years ago, which contrasted O'Keefe's paintings with the portraiture and photography of her husband, Alfred Stieglitz. But that exhibition actually took the plunge and embraced the sexuality of both artists, which was very sexy and risqué. This one just lightly dabbles. Although it does draw interesting connections between the sensuousness of O'Keefe's lush paintings and the curvature of the landscapes that so enthrall Adams, it seems to be a more of half-hearted re-do of an earlier concept, rather than something new and fresh.

The SFMOMA has made a name for itself as being somewhat of a risky establishment. In previous seasons we've seen them display new and controversial works of artists like Zak Smith (who enjoys a second career as porn actor Zak Sabbath, and who paints the women he meets in his, err, working life). And we've been both delighted and disturbed by the curators' selections; for example, the fifth floor of the museum until recently housed Jeff Koons' porcelain statue of Michael Jackson holding a costumed monkey. This work was edgy, kitschy, and above all, creepy! Which was a good thing.


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