The Dallas Museum of Art has been enveloping Dallas with flowers and bones for a month now to promote its exhibit Georgia O'Keeffe: The Poetry of Things. There have been lectures, gallery talks, and symposiums discussing every aspect of her art and her life; O'Keeffe's giant red poppies even adorn the sides of DART buses. The treatment seems so clinical, textbook even, especially for someone whose art is so lush, vibrant, and organic. However, during its December 12 Family Fiesta Day, the museum presents a program about O'Keeffe that delves into the artist as a human being, particularly as a woman.
During Artful Lives: An Afternoon with Georgia O'Keeffe and Frida Kahlo, actor Robin Lane will become O'Keeffe, using props and costumes to tell the artist's life in a one-woman play presented in first person. As O'Keeffe, Lane will re-enact scenes from her life and talk to unseen characters such as her husband Alfred Stieglitz. She will cover O'Keeffe's creative process and how she found her home in New Mexico, where she lived after Stieglitz's death until her own demise in 1986.
Lane's Artful Lives: Living Portraits of Women Artists usually also includes American Impressionist painter Mary Cassat and Italian theatrical artist Artemisia Gentileschi, but she tailored the program for the DMA by focusing on O'Keeffe and Kahlo, whose work is on display in Art in Post-Revolutionary Mexico, 1920-1950, along with that of her husband, painter Diego Rivera.
Kahlo's life seems designed for the stage: Several full-length plays and an opera have been written about her, and Madonna has long been rumored to be working on a film of her life. While O'Keeffe found peace in the desert examining nature, Kahlo suffered her troubled life publicly through her paintings, in which she revealed her difficulties through symbols and rich colors. As Kahlo, Lane will illustrate the artist's two marriages to Rivera, her artwork, and the permanent injuries she received from a near-fatal streetcar accident when she was a teenager. Lane will also dress in a costume based upon Kahlo's signature flamboyant outfits, decorated with ribbons and flowers. During her performances, she is the artist, channeling the passion and intensity of these women, whose lives were as interesting as their brush strokes.