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By Blake de Pastino

July 21, 1997:  Well, it was bound to happen sometime. A full decade after her death, the doyenne of Southwestern painting has finally gotten her own museum. This Thursday, the new Georgia O'Keeffe Museum will open in Santa Fe, ribbon-cut and ready for throngs of visitors to pay homage to our state's most famous artist. And really, I can't say she doesn't deserve it. While hanging out in the valleys of northern New Mexico for 50 years, O'Keeffe single-handedly brought new life and new focus to the lost art of still-life painting. And, with their deep tones and modern composition, those cow skulls and flowers have proved to be quite enduring--as you can see today in the countless prints to be found in museum stores and apartment bathrooms everywhere.

The new O'Keeffe Museum is also notable because of its hazy kind of private-public alliance. Though billed as a private institution, it's said to "work in close association" with the Museum of New Mexico, the governing body that operates almost all the museums around the Plaza. So MNM members will automatically become part of the new O'Keeffe showspace, and admission will be on the same scale ($5 per museum per day or $10 for a four-day pass to all museums). Its inaugural exhibition will feature more than 80 of O'Keeffe's works and will be on display through 1997. You'll find the new museum at 217 Johnson Street. Call (505) 827-6548.

--Blake de Pastino

arts, lit & culture e-mail: blake.depastino@alibi.com

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