Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams: The Hawai‘i Pictures

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July 18, 2013 – January 12, 2014
Honolulu Museum of Art

This summer, the Honolulu Museum of Art presents Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams: The Hawai‘i Pictures, the first exhibition to feature in dialogue work created in and about Hawai‘i by these two American masters.

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628x471-4Both artists are famously associated with specific places—O’Keeffe is inextricably tied to the American Southwest and Adams is known for his photography of Yosemite National Park. Both artists also visited Hawai‘i at the height of their powers, and captured the islands’ extraordinary sense of place. The Hawai‘i Pictures reexamines each artist’s Hawaiian interlude to reveal that the islands profoundly moved them and had an enduring influence on their subsequent work.

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628x471-3“Both artists wanted to unmask what lay beyond the beaches of Waikiki,” says Theresa Papanikolas, the museum’s curator of European and American art, and curator of the exhibition. “O’Keeffe went beyond prevailing stereotypes and pictured Hawai‘i in terms of her own authentic and deeply personal response to its natural beauty. Meanwhile, the work that Adams did in the island reflected and augmented his broader aim to exploit the capacity of modern photography to reveal the essence of a given subject and, in doing so, make America’s celebrated spaces immediately identifiable and accessible.”

628x471-5The exhibition includes a selection of painting associated with O’Keeffe’s 1939 trip to Hawai‘i to create illustrations for print advertisements for the Hawaiian Pineapple Company (now the Dole Company). During her two-month stay, O’Keeffe visited O‘ahu, Maui, Kaua‘i, and Hawai‘i Island, painting dramatic coastlines, volcanic terrain, traditional tools, and exotic flora.

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