Musings of Navigating The Finite remainder of life from Porchville, with the hope of a glimpse of The Infinite

Friday, July 15, 2011

What If Georgia was alive today?

Black Iris, Georgia O'keeffe, 1926

Note! Click on images to view full size. 

Georgia O’Keeffe is one of my favorite painters, and her Black Iris is my favorite O’Keeffe painting.  You can read about the Black Iris here:

And you can read about Georgia O’Keeffe at Wikipedia:

Like Georgia, I deny any Freudian interest in this painting.  It is simply a painting of a very lovely blossom.  But let’s use our imaginations and consider for a moment what if Georgia was alive today.  And again using our imaginations, let us suppose that she is just starting out and not that well known…

Georgia has just completed her lovely Black Iris and she takes it down to the Met to request entry in a upcoming show. 

The curator of modern pieces has heard favorable comments on her other works and agrees to consider her painting for this very important show.  Having a work in this show could really launch O'Keeffe's career and reputation.  He looks on with interest as O’Keeffe unveils her masterpiece.  At first sight he groans.
Georgia O'Keeffe, "Hands", by Alfred Steiglitz

“I am sorry Ms.O’Keeffe but your Black Iris will never do.” 

O’Keeffe shocked and puzzled, says “And why is that?”

“Well it does not suit modern tastes.” replied the curator. 

“But surely, sir, you have to agree that this is indeed what a Black Iris looks like.” O’Keeffe states. 

“Yes, perhaps in nature.  Ms O’Keefe if this was the 1920’s I would commend you on a beautiful Black Iris, but unfortunately tastes have changed.” 

“I don’t understand,” O’Keeffe exclaims.  “A black iris is a black iris, how can tastes change?" 

“I have a collection of photographs comparing the natural appearance with the modern aesthetic. Shall we have a look?” said the curator.

O’Keeffe begins leafing through a large album.  On the left leaf are photos of black iris in full bloom.  On the right are smooth formless spheroids.

O’keeffe says “The photos on the left are quite beautiful.  The blossoms are in full bloom.  The photos on the right are nothing more than immature buds.  Why are you showing me these photos?”

“Ms. O’Keeffe, please understand, tastes have changed.  People now think that the smooth look of the immature bud is how a black iris should look.  This look has evolved from exposure on the media and the Internet. It is the new aesthetic for a black iris.”

“But…but, that is simply not how a mature black iris looks.  People are fooling themselves.”  O’Keeffe replied.

“I am terribly sorry,  Ms. O’keeffe, but there is no way that I can display your black iris… well, unless…”


“Well, we could modify your Black Iris.  I have experts that can remove those unsightly inner petals and have your iris looking beautiful.  My experts are so precise that we think of it as surgery, aesthetic bloom surgery.”

“But an iris with no inner petals will not look natural.”

“And that Ms. O’keeffe is exactly the point!  We will improve your iris so that it meets a standard of beauty that is fashionable these days.  It will be beautiful, trust me,…and then we would be proud to display it in our show."

O’Keeffe, weighs the situation.  She loves her beautiful black iris yet her career really needs to make this show.  She then reluctantly agrees.

The next day the curator calls Georgia back to the museum.  Beaming at her, he unveils the black iris. 

(Pssst, this is Sextant.  Scroll down.)

Improved Aesthetic Black Iris

Georgia gasps and burst into tears.  “You have destroyed my Black Iris!”

“Are you crazy, look at it!  It is beautiful!” shouted the curator.

“No its not, it is asymmetrical and disfigured.  You have ruined it!  It doesn't even look like those young buds.  It will never be the same!”

“Well, Ms O’keeffe, please understand a mature black iris is asymmetrical to begin with.  Our experts can only work with what nature has provided.  The key point here is to realize that we have removed those horrid wrinkled and drooping flaps of inner petals.  It is so much more beautiful now.” replied the curator.

“The asymmetry of the full blossom was balanced by the unpredictable intricacy of all the petals.  It was balanced, wild and beautiful.  Now it is simple and the asymmetry is glaring.  It is terrible!  You have destroyed it!"

“Well we could schedule your iris for a revision surgery.”  replied the curator.

“Really, you can restore the missing petals?” asked O’Keeffe.

“Oh, absolutely not.  Those petals when removed are gone forever, but we can improve the symmetry by  further removal of the remaining inner petals.  Shall I schedule your iris for a revision?”


OK.  I’ll get off my soap box now.  Here are some more of O’keeffe’s paintings.  She had a good bit of variety in her repertoire.  Oh and if you search Google images, “Alfred Steiglitz photos of Georgia O’Keeffe”, you will find a few images of Georgia that caused something of a buzz at the time.  Apparently she and Steiglitz felt that nature was beautiful.  I whole heartedly agree. 

Reference post for my thinly veiled story:

Navigating The Finite, AVS or FGM

Ram's Head White Hollyhock and Little Hills, 1935

Radiator Building At Night  1927

Pink Dish and Green Leaves  1928

Image Credits:


  1. I dunno...looks like the inside of a pussy to me. But I'm just a pervert.

  2. Busman! Must you be so graphic? You have a Freudian interest, and in my mind that is not perverted but very normal.

  3. Wonderful blog & good post.Its really helpful for me, awaiting for more new post. Keep Blogging!

    Georgia O Keeffe Paintings

  4. bestpmchennai

    Thank you for the very kind comment! I am glad you like the blog. Tell your friends! Unfortunately I am sort of hit or miss about posting, so all I can say is check back.

    The modification of Georgia's Black Iris is a critique of aesthetic vaginal surgery which I posted about here:

    Again, thanks for the kind compliment on my blog.