September 26

Miguel Covarrubias: Drawing a Cosmopolitan Line


Friday, September 26 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM



Event Description

The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum is pleased to announce an exhibition of the artwork created by Mexican artist Miguel Covarrubias that reveals his influential role in a global network of modernists, including Georgia O’Keeffe, during the 1920s and 1930s. He is best known for his lively caricatures of famous figures published in stylish New York magazines. However, the primary purpose of this exhibition, organized by the O’Keeffe Museum and appearing exclusively in Santa Fe, is to define the breadth and significance of Covarrubias’s contribution to the history of modern art.

Miguel Covarrubias (1904-1957) was deeply influenced by his life-long practice of moving between modern cities and remote sites of ancient and traditional arts. He began a friendship with Georgia O’Keeffe in 1929, when both artists were guests at the Taos home of Mabel Dodge Luhan. Though O’Keeffe was a generation older than Covarrubias, they shared many professional as well as social experiences.  Both were part of an international, intergenerational cluster of artists in New York, a group that formed the cornerstone of the emergent modernist aesthetic. Thus, their relationship is an enormously productive place to analyze the significance of the avant-garde circles of modernism, where their careers flourished as well as their friendship.

Traveling widely during the 1920s and 1930s, Covarrubias moved between Mexico, New York, Europe, Africa, and Bali, and later returned to Mexico during the 1940s to research and write about Tehuantepec. The exhibition presents artwork that links Covarrubias’s commercial art, scholarly publications, and studio practice as well as his friendships with Diego Rivera, Edward Weston, and Georgia O’Keeffe, among others to demonstrate the cosmopolitan modernism of his life and work.

“This exhibition traces the breadth of Covarrubias’s intellectual and artistic interests as well as his friendship with O’Keeffe, making an original contribution to our understanding of modernism and expanding our sense of O’Keeffe’s world,” according to Carolyn Kastner, curator of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

A catalogue of essays will accompany the exhibition, including an introductory essay by Kastner.  Essayists include Janet C. Berlo who analyzes Covarrubias’s substantial scholarship on the indigenous art of North America; Khristaan D. Villela who describes Covarrubias’s contribution to Pre-Columbian studies; and Alicia Guzman who discusses mural maps painted by Covarrubias for the 1939 San Francisco World's Fair, are modern hybrids of abstracted geographic features populated with a diversity of caricatures.

Exhibition continues September 26, 2014 - January 18, 2015.