The purpose of our blog is to discuss topical issues, stories, and situations, as well as to share what we are up to and new ways for you to get involved. We are always searching for possible answers to the question: Why is a girl's worth culturally and historically relative?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Women's History Month "O": Georgia O'Keeffe and the Olympics


Georgia O'Keeffe in New Mexico, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1950 

Born in Wisconsin in 1887, Georgia O'Keeffe was the second of seven children born to Francis Calyxtus O'Keeffe and Ida Totto O'Keeffe, both dairy farmers.  Ida insisted all of the girls take art lessons, and because both her parents were impressed, they encouraged Georgia to attend art school.  After completing high school in 1905, she studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and in 1907 she attended the Art Students League in New York City.  In 1908, Georgia attended a show at 291, which was owned by photographer Alfred Stieglitz, who would become her husband.  However, she did not meet him, and in 1908, Georgia moved to Chicago to work as a commercial artist, and did not paint until 1912

In 1916, Alfred Stieglitz was shown some of Georgia's work, and expressed a strong desire to show them; her first solo show was in 1917.  While Georgia was in New York, she stayed in an apartment owned by Stieglitz's niece.  During this time, Stieglitz and Georgia fell in love, and Stieglitz left his wife  to live with her.  Stieglitz and his wife didn't divorce until 1924, and  Georgia and Stieglitz married shortly thereafter.

Although Georgia worked in watercolors in her early years, she began working in oils, and in the 1920s, Georgia was creating large-scale close-up paintings of nature.  In 1924 she completed her first large-scale flower.  Some of her works, including 1926's "Black Iris III" have been thought to represent female genitalia, although Georgia denied that she painted vaginal imagery.  Even so, many art historians link her to feminist artists.

Georgia O'Keeffe was a pioneer in American art, especially in the 1920s.  She was considered one of the most important artists in America, and her paintings garnered high prices, even during her lifetime.  Her paintings of abstract flowers and landscapes of the American Southwest made Georgia one of the most important American Modernists.

The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in New Mexico recently opened in 2010 to showcase two of her homes and exhibitions of her paintings and images.


To create one's own world, in any of the arts, takes courage.
~Georgia O’Keeffe

Making your unknown known is the important thing.
~Georgia O’Keeffe

I know I cannot paint a flower. I cannot paint the sun on the desert on a bright summer morning, but maybe in terms of paint color I can convey to you my experience of the flower or the experience that makes the flower of significance to me at that particular time.
~Georgia O’Keeffe

I don't see why we ever think of what others think of what we do--no matter who they are. Isn't it enough just to express yourself?
~Georgia O’Keeffe


The Olympic Games were founded in 1894 by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to spark friendly international competition in a variety of events. With the success of the games, the Olympics occur every two years, switching off between summer and winter events with thousands of participants in hundreds of events. In the first modern games, held in Greece in 1896, women were not allowed to compete; it wasn't until 1900 when women were allowed to compete in appropriate sports as golf and croquet.  In current games, women only compete against other women except in sailing and equestrian events. 

The youngest girl to win a gold medal is Nadia Com─âneci of Romania, who at 14 years old took gold medals at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games in three events: all-around, balance beam, and uneven bars. With new regulations, the minimum age a competitor can be is 16 years of age, which means Nadia will forever hold her title.

With so many talented young athletes, in 2010 the IOC held its first Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Singapore to feature athletes from 14 to 18 years of age. The YOG will be formatted similar to the Olympics with switching winter and summer events.

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