Saturday, November 9, 2013

Rio in M

Another pre-Games milestone crept up on the calendar this week: 1,000 days to Rio!

Looks like the Brazilian team organizing the 2016 Olympic Games celebrated the countdown with special events and photo opps. The Associated Press chose to mark the occasion with an update on an ambitious sponsorship goal, while reporters provided a journalistic kick-in-the-rear to underscore the urgency of Games prep yet to come.

The pictograms turned out nice. Though the designers refer to their round outlines as "pebbles" they struck me as individual guitar picks like the ones Charlie Byrd may have used in the studio sessions for "Brazilian Byrd."

Images via Rio 2016

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Coming Soon: High Flying Adored

If you didn't yet hear that women's ski jump competition gets its Olympic debut in Sochi, you will.

Count on it.

The P.R. machine for Women's Ski Jumping USA is hitting its stride, and the Salt Lake Tribune's July 6 headline "Women's ski jump team prepping for Olympic media onslaught" was and remains apt.

At the recent Team USA Olympic Media Summit in Park City, Utah, where the women's team lives and trains, dozens of sports and entertainment reporters -- and even a few Olympic bloggers -- flocked to meet the Sochi Olympic hopefuls who are medal stand favorites going into the Games. At times, journalists huddled in rows three or four deep to pose questions, with photographers and TV cameras encircling each young woman.

All the attention is well-deserved. At the media summit, Sarah Hendrickson, Jessica Jerome and Lindsey Van explained their version of events leading to women's ski jump gaining Olympic competition status. It took, after all, several years, legal battles, IOC lobbying and an abundance of perseverance to create the five-ringed opportunity for Team USA and international competitors to jump in Russia during 2014.

To my bewildered eyes, the English language version of the website still does not (at less than 100 days to the Games) include Women's Ski Jump in the official description of the 2014 ski jump competition.

However, the schedule section does note February 11 as the big day for women's jumping for joy (and gold).

I aim to be among the 7,500+ spectators in the RusSki Gorki venue. From a peek at the interactive map (screen grab shown), the viewing stands and the jumps are nestled among the tracks for bobsled, luge and skeleton competition, much like the set-up in Park City for 2002. Globally, women's ski jump athlete qualification -- which involves number crunching of FIS World
Cup and Grand Prix results -- continues through January 19, according to the Team USA Media Guide. Here in the USA, the athletes are selected through rankings and results of competitions held Nov. 15 to Jan. 19, with one spot TBD on Dec. 29 at the Olympic Trials.

By my count via the FIS ski jump athlete pages, there are 22 nations who may field women's ski jump entrants from three continents: North America (Canada, USA), Europe (Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, The Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Romania, Poland) and Asia (China, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea and Russia).

May the best woman ski faster, lunge higher and land stronger in the Sochi ski jump competition.

Images via, WSJ-USA and Newscom

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Puff, Puff, Pass ... On Olympic Mascots

Olympic mascots are getting too complicated.

Gone are the days of "easy" Olympic marketing to kids. Who can forget Sam the Olympic Eagle of 1984, flapping his wings and pecking with his over sized, Big Bird-yellow beak? He was simple. All American. Easy to "get it" that he was a patriotic symbol of LA84. Perfect!

Apparently, his likeness continues to appear in Japanese animation almost 30 years post-Games, indicative of staying power not often enjoyed by mascots of the five-ringed variety.

My earliest Games mascot memory is actually Sam's winter Olympic cousin, Roni the Raccoon of Lake Placid, N.Y. I have vivid memories of shopping with mom at the drug store during first grade winter months, selecting a giant coloring book filled with images of Roni donning winter sports gear, ready to be filled with Crayon wax while watching ABC Sports.

Roni, too, was simple. Two dimensional. One of the good mascots.

Somewhere along the way -- I think with Barcelona's 1992 Cobi (a mascot to love, by an artist who is now among my favorites), or perhaps with Atlanta's "Jimmy Carter sperm" mascot, IZZY (terrible) -- when Olympic mascots got off track. WAY off track. Then they mutated and multiplied, and some host city selection teams even looked to other worlds for inspiration (remember Neve and Gliz from Torino?).

My brain is still processing those "things" they selected as London's Olympic icons.

When I looked tonight at Sochi's trio of Winter Olympic mascots, my head was shaking. What psychotropic drug did they take to come up with the back stories for the hare, bear and snow leopard? A few thoughts:

For the creators of "The Leopard" it may have been LSD. How else would they take this lovely big cat from a mountaintop tree and set him (or her? or it?) on a makeshift snowboard to warn nearby villagers of an approaching avalanche by banging a large stone on a church bell?

Next, put this one under your tongue: For "The Hare" methinks the meds of choice may have been Ecstasy given the creature's manic pace, as detailed in the video introducing this character as a figure skater and family restaurant employee. Huh? (He, she or it also plays guitar like Forrest Gump's girlfriend, Jenny, on a stool before summoning the fire department much like "Lassie" in any rescue situation.)

It may have just been some weed or good shrooms that inspired the Sochi team's morphing of Russia's 1980 bear mascot Misha into a North Pole-based polar bear (there is a facial resemblance, sort of, for the 2014 mascot "The Polar Bear"). This guy was rescued from a chunk of glacier that broke off and floated to sea. Raised by scientists/humans on a ship, he later learned sledding sports. Oh, and he carries a cell phone.

All of the Sochi mascots carry a cell phone -- WTF!?!

The cell phone for the bear is ringing now (in my head ... sans shrooms). It's the Charmin bears calling wanting a rewrite to the story their creators shat.

Well, on the plus side, the Sochi Olympic site includes a clever "Mascot Home" page featuring the aforementioned characters, as well as their other-worldly Paralympic mascot cousins (don't get me started) and handy links to the history of other summer and winter Games critters. I liked the recycling/green message, and the videos are of "high" quality (thank you, double-entendres).

What or who is your favorite Olympic mascot? And your least favorite? And which do you remember as your "first" Olympic mascot?

Images via

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

See You In Sochi In C Days

One hundred (a.k.a. C) days to Sochi hardly seems possible.

After a challenging year (still in progress) including elder care duties with family and many interesting freelance P.R. client projects, the pre-Games milestone for Russia's Winter Olympiad didn't exactly sneak up on me, but it does enforce some urgency to lock in travel details to get to the host city.

Plans are going alright, though at a Siberian glacial pace. Found a hotel for opening ceremonies eve (and booked it!), and soon my purchase of a state room aboard an Adler-docked cruise ship will be complete. That leaves the Super Bowl Sunday flight (via Frankfurt), ground transportation and a mobile device as the remaining "travel to do's" for Sochi. Happy to report I will be there.

Will you? Who among readers is going to Sochi, and what were the biggest surprises and challenges of your travel planning so far? (I might just send an Olympic blog pin to someone who posts an answer via comments.)

As was the case with Torino in 2006, my brain's been lukewarm to the whole lead up to Sochi. It's surprising the Olympic security story lines did not resonate more in media and conversations of recent months, trumped by the Russian law banter as the "controversy d'Olympiade" drummed with about the same six-months-out timing as human rights for Beijing, security for Athens, homeless rights for Vancouverites, etc.

The good news is that the global public discourse about Russia's policies may emerge as a positive turning point (five, 10 or 20 years from now, hopefully things will be better as a result of recent protests and such). Thank goodness the Games will go on sans boycott.

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to attend the Team USA Olympic Media Summit in Park City, Utah, to visit with many Sochi Olympic hopefuls and to learn about winter Olympic training underway at many venues across the USA and around the world.

During the next 100 days, I'll strive to post daily some of the athlete photos and stories learned at the Summit, and to delve into Sochi Olympic sponsor activation, observations on Olympic public relations (good or otherwise) and Olympic travel or Sochi Cultural Olympiad items in the news.

I'm most excited to witness the debut of women's Olympic ski jump and the combine male/female team events (ticket leads are appreciated).

The Sochi Olympic Torch Relay now underway is also very interesting as the largest single-nation relay in history, almost taking the flame to the moon and back (they reached the North Pole a few days ago, as I understand it, and the notion of the Torch aglow under the Northern Lights is inspiring).

What do you want to see and learn through this Olympic blog? Share via comments and I'll see what I can do.

C U in Sochi!

Screen grab image via OMEGA Watches; North Pole photo via

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Let's Talk Turkey (and Tokyo, and Madrid)

Later today in Buenos Aires, the International Olympic Committee selects the host city for the Games of 2020. Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo will present their cases in Argentina, each pleading why their city may be the best place for the future Olympiad.

While following the bid process over many months, no clear favorite came to mind for this blogger until today. It should be a close vote, probably going multiple rounds, but only the election action will tell.

Istanbul will win, I think, for a few major strengths of note:

-- This is the Turkish city's fifth Olympic bid. They've gutted out several recent (though non-consecutive) bid processes, learning and refining along the way. Their staying power is a major asset
-- Istanbul lets the IOC dip its five-ringed toes into the Arab market (new for the Olympics) while tethering to Western/European familiarity. It's bid-trendy for the IOC to tap new regions as they did with Rio 2016 and Beijing 2008
-- Istanbul is a beautiful city with some of the best hospitality/tourism options worldwide, with plenty of hotels and TV-ready ancient historic sites, gorgeous and modern sports venues, and an accomplished record of hosting major global sporting events (personally, my girlfriend and I consider Istanbul as the site of our most relaxing and fun holiday experience -- we fell in love with the people, culture, history and climate there)
-- The IOC is used to protests; recent incidents in Istanbul are challenges the IOC voters may consider "normal" and manageable.

While Tokyo has as many bids under its belt, and a similar strong record, I think there are a couple of Achilles' heels for Japan's bid. Geography may be a factor (too close to Korea, hosting the 2018 Winter Games), and the potential headaches of post-Fukushima and soaring costs (Tokyo being among the world's most expensive cities in which to work and live). In some ways, Tokyo's hosting of the 1964 Games may also turn off a few IOC voters who may be looking for a fully new location in lieu of building on a legacy.

And while Madrid is a repeat bidder with an outstanding record, I don't think their modest budgets will resonate with IOC members with a bigger is better mindset. This city was more of a sentimental favorite for past bids (given longtime IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch's Spanish roots), and there may be less sentiment during this vote.

For both Tokyo and Madrid, their presentations may come across as slightly more "what's in it for us" rather than "what's in it for the IOC" (its unavoidable that Japan present that the 2020 Games would lead to more recovery from recent disasters, and Spain's presentation can't get around the economy factor and how the Games would help on the money side).

I wish for all three candidate cities the greatest success with their presentations, and certainly will plan travel to the city ultimately selected for 2020.

Afternoon Update (added 9/7/2013 at 4 p.m. CT): Congratulations to Tokyo, which won the 2020 Olympic bid. Early reports on the vote show Japan's bid city took the lead in the first round, then picked up more votes for the win in IOC ballots round two. I've only experienced Tokyo via Narita International Airport, and anticipate today's selection will bring more travel to Asia in the near future.  It's a bummer for Istanbul supporters, particularly those in the media room in Argentina, according to Inside The Games. It will be fun to see if Turkey and Spain both give it another go for 2024.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Support Wrestling Via Ebay

Happy to read via there's a set of Ebay auctions underway in support of Olympic wrestling's attempt to return to the 2020 Olympic schedule.

Readers may recall my initial (and ongoing) frustration the IOC voted out wrestling in the first place.

Glancing at the Ebay listings -- which include an experience with Jay Leno, training sessions with celebrity athletes and (according to the NBC post) a Rio de Janiero 2016 Olympic VIP trip -- looks like USA Wrestling is the benefactor of the fundraising auctions.

Consider a bid! Pin it to win it!

Photo via this link

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Team USA Softball Playing Hardball with Top Player

Still in the Midwest/Southwest, my dad and I took in a game at the World Cup of Softball VII event in Oklahoma City's ASA Hall of Fame Stadium yesterday. Good times!

Though the 90 degree noon game (Canada vs. Puerto Rico) had just a few hundred shade-seeking fans, when I returned to the evening USA vs. Australia match the stands were packed, good for the female sport and supporters working hard since 2008 to bring softball back into the Olympics.

Softball/baseball is up against wrestling and squash to get on the Olympic roster for the 2020 Games.

Driving to the stadium, my dad and I talked briefly about our take on which sport is worthy of five-ringed status. For this blogger, softball is a great sport, but wrestling never should have come out of the Olympic roster in the first place (as it is an ancient sport of strength while the ball and stick games are more of a modern thing). But I do also think softball is worthy of the upgrade -- it was cool to see Team USA players around town in Athens in 2004.

Sadly, the powers that be at the ASA may have shot themselves in the foot, according to a Daily Oklahoman sports column describing the runaround, sans bases, for the woman who is arguably the sports greatest player this year. Seems like a risky tactic for the Team USA decision makers to take on the eve of the IOC's vote for one sport to gain or regain Olympic status.

Photo by Nicholas Wolaver

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Museum Hopping In OKC

In Oklahoma for a few weeks to tend to some family matters, I broke away for most of Saturday to visit two great OKC museums worth a special trip for the locals and for those passing through these parts.

The first stop was the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, currently hosting the photography exhibition "Herb Ritts: Beauty and Celebrity."

Until checking out the enormous black and white prints, my only prior experience putting on the Ritts was through the purchase of Madonna's "True Blue" album for which Herb was the photographer. His images of Prince, a super model or two and a portrait of Jack Nicholson's grin enlarged by a well-placed magnifying glass also got easy recognition on the OKC gallery walls.

I liked the exhibition for the enormous images of Christopher
Reeve, Nelson Mandela, Louis Armstrong and a handful of other celebrity images.

Favorites include the more abstract or "artsy" images like "Woman in Sea," "Neith with Shadows" (both the front and back versions) and "Mask" featuring a gorgeous brunette woman hiding behind her long locks.
Though the first image of the exhibition features a diver, and there are numerous images with clearly athletic subjects mocking Greek or Roman gods and goddesses, I was surprised and a little bummed Olympic athletes don't seem to be part of Ritts' repertoire -- all those years of beauty and celebrity but no Olympians? What's up with that? Did Annie Leibovitz get a monopoly on the famous five-ringed set?

The Olympic-free status of Ritts' portfolio (I looked in every book of his work) is all the more surprising since so many of his projects had Hollywood ties. Driving away from the exhibition it puzzled me wondering "where was Herb?" during the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics? Oh, well.

The second museum of the day featured a trek to Persimmon Hill overlooking I-44, where an enormous statue of Buffalo Bill on horseback beckons everyone to visit the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

Best bets at this museum include:
  • A room of Frederick Remington canvases, sketches and
    sculpture, including one bronze for which there was only one cast, and a selection of Charles Russell works
  • An extensive collection of works by Charles Schreyvogel, a lesser known and extremely talented Western artist
  • Western Performers gallery, including portraits by Norman Rockwell and LeRoy Neiman, details about Oklahoman Will Rogers, and memorabilia from more than a century of cowboy cinema (the mini-movie theatre documentary on the history of Westerns is well done).
  • A Native American gallery on par with the Detroit Institute of Arts' similar and expansive collection
  • Monumental sculptures and paintings including four Southwest weather-themed triptychs that are the biggest canvases I've ever seen.
The museum is home to the annual Prix de West competition celebrating its 40th year. On view are hundreds of contemporary Western art works, many of which are for sale. I wish my bank account had enough funds to let me take home a George Carlson landscape painting (priced like a new Volvo and worth every penny).

There's at least one Olympic connection to the Cowboy collection as President Ronald Reagan got inducted into the Hall of Fame on the eve of U.S. Olympic Festival '89 in OKC (after the induction he spoke at the Opening Ceremonies in Norman, Okla.). Of course you can learn all about Olympic level rodeo competitions in the museum as well.

And another nice surprise at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is the expansive gardens south of the main gallery buildings. From this outdoor vantage there are great views of the Buffalo Bill monument and "The End of the Trail" in the museum main entry. Y'all head on over there when you can.

Photos via Herb Ritts Foundation/OKC Museum of Art and National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Happy Olympic Day 2013

June 23 marks the worldwide celebration of Olympic Day.

What is Olympic Day? Here's what the International Olympic Committee has to say about it for 2013:

On 23 June, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Olympic Movement are celebrating [the] 65th Olympic Day! The IOC celebrated its first World Olympic Day on 23 June 1948 with nine National Olympic Committees hosting ceremonies in their respective countries. Today, Olympic Day has evolved to become a key date in the Olympic Movement’s calendar and has gained momentum worldwide with last year, almost 4 million participants from around the world and over 150 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) taking part.

The official page for Olympic Day also provides an interactive map of the NOCs taking park, and a cool video featuring Kobe Bryant encouraging participation. Here in the United States, there's a Team USA directory of participating communities -- it's not too late to participate like 2010 Vancouver Olympian/Sochi 2014 Olympic hopeful Julia Clukey and participants did at the camp she created in Maine.

I plan to participate by taking a brisk walk from Midtown Atlanta to downtown's Centennial Olympic Park, home of the statue honoring modern Olympic founder Baron Pierre de Coubertin. Hope you will also make it an Olympic Day.

Olympic Day logo image via this link; Olympic Day photos via IOC Facebook page; Centennial Olympic Park photo via The Eternal Optimist blog by Sara Bondioli

Delights Der Dutch Details

I've got a new summer girlfriend in Atlanta. You need to meet her!

She's Dutch. She's famous. She's likes to wear pearls and she's got a smile that stops people in their tracks.

This week at my freelance P.R. job, the High Museum of Art welcomed the long-awaited arrival of "Girl With A Pearl Earring." The world-famous canvas by Johannes Vermeer got its official Atlanta unveiling on Monday, joining 34 other Dutch masterworks on view through Sept. 29.

Wednesday's media preview and advance work got some nice play with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Georgia Public Broadcasting, Atlanta Magazine, Fox 5 Good Day Atlanta, Creative Loafing and the Associated Press.

The exhibition marks the first Southeast U.S. visit of the "Dutch Mona Lisa," and I have to say that gazing upon the canvas in person reminded me of crossing paths with Madonna, Lady Gaga, Cher, Annie Lennox and other famous and beautiful women backstage or from the photo pit at Philips Arena. Like shaking hands with Hillary Clinton a few years back, walking up to the "Girl With A Pearl Earring" for the first time provided those "meeting a celebrity" ganzen staten (Dutch goose bumps).

For this blogger, art exhibitions must deliver on several fronts to earn "outstanding" status. In addition to the inclusion of "important" works, a heavy dose of learning and "elements of interest" are key. I loved walking through "Girl With A Pearl Earring: Dutch Paintings from the Mauritshuis" for it entices the visitor to get up in the face of most of the works and really study the fine details.

A cousin of mine who experienced the exhibition in San Francisco a few weeks ago remarked that she loved how small and detailed many of the canvases are -- I concur, and I also delighted in the Dutch details many times.

The exhibition includes works grouped by landscapes/seascapes, still lifes, genre and history paintings and portraits.

While viewing the first few frames, visitors should be sure to closely study the snow-tipped leaves in "Winter Landscape" by Jacob van Ruisdael, and make time for his larger work "View of Haarlem with Bleaching Grounds" for the glorious countryside it portrays, filled with churches, windmills and fields under a cloudy summer sky (the title refers to the olde school methods of making linen -- ranked with beer as Haarlem's top exports -- and the fabric bleaching process that covered acres of farmland).

I also enjoyed an early peek at Mauritshuis -- the museum from which the exhibition is on loan during a two-year remodeling project -- shown in "A Hunting Party near the Hofvijver in The Hague, Seen from the Plaats" (later in the exhibition, a floor-to-ceiling photograph of modern day Mauritshuis quickly moved a trip to The Netherlands up on my world travel wish list).

The still lifes showcase Dutch flowers, food and property enjoyed by the wealthy elite, while the genre paintings bring to life a day in the middle class Holland.

The largest canvas by artist Jan Steen titled "As the Old Sing, So Twitter the Young" (see image at base of this post) includes a family party scene not too shy for its commentary on liberal lifestyles (smokes and drinks for all ages!) and the consequences for future generations, while a tiny canvas by the same artist, "The Oyster Eater," made me hungry (check out the fine porcelain detail -- how did the painter do that?). Studying the latter canvas was like standing before the tiny oil canvases by Salvador DalĂ­ that were in the same High galleries not long ago. Wonderful surprises in the tiniest details.

While Tweeting about the Twitter-titled Steen, one may also wish to IM RE: "The Goldfinch" by Carel Fabritius (saved by conservation works, according to the exhibition catalog), the skull in "Vanitas Still Life" by Pieter Claesz, or "Still Life with Five Apricots" that look so real its as though peach fuzz grew on the canvas.

Other favorites include "Woman Writing a Letter" with a young lady donning an earring like the exhibition's namesake, and her neighbor "The Violin Player" with a life-sized female giggling through her wardrobe malfunction circa 1636. Tobacco and alcohol return in "A Man Smoking and a Woman Drinking in a Courtyard" and there's a Muppet-like quality to each of the peasant faces in "The Violinist."

The big guns come out with four magnificent Rembrandt van Rijn masterpieces, including "Susanna" and "Simeon's Song of Praise" flanked by portraits and tronies or facial paintings that capture people of era but not necessarily a specific person. Which brings us to the "Mona Lisa of the North" by Vermeer, who is not a specific person as portrayed by Scarlett Johansson in the film based on a fictional bestseller by the same name.

The "Girl With A Pearl Earring" gets to hang out in her own private green room just like the other lady rock stars mentioned in this post, with her gaze following your movements across the room like the eyes of the president's statue inside the Lincoln Memorial rotunda.

I highly recommend a visit to experience "Girl With A Pearl Earring" during her once in a lifetime stop at Atlanta, or during her final worldwide tour dates with The Frick Collection in New York and at a museum in Balogna, Italy, before her homecoming in The Hague. And though I don't often do this, I also recommend the audio tour and exhibition catalog which elaborate on many more details of the Dutch masterworks.

Photos by Nicholas Wolaver except for "The Girl With The Pearl Earring" image from this link

Friday, June 21, 2013

Too Many Days Since A Night of O'K

About a month ago, I blew out 40 birthday candles.

Actually, this did not happen as my girlfriend's and family members' promises of a candle-topped cake remain only half-baked.

Though 40 and cakeless, last month I DID enjoy a Friday evening visit to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, where everything was O'K. What a treat as the icing to a five-day vacation including New Mexico destinations in and around Albuquerque, Shiprock, Four Corners, Farmington, Taos and the state capitol.

The road trip holiday also included a day at Colorado's Mesa Verde and an evening in Durango.

Until May 17, the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum was on my "to visit" list since its opening in the latter 1990s. A warm Friday afternoon (May 17) proved good timing to arrive at the museum door on opening day for the summer exhibition "Georgia O'Keeffe In New Mexico: Architecture, Katsinam, and the Land" on view through September 11.

The exhibition featured many familiar favorites and an array of surprises worth a special trip.

In the first gallery, fellow O'Keeffe fans and I gathered 'round the landscape canvas currently in circulation as a recent U.S. Postal Service commemorative stamp. We also sampled some early works from the Wisconsin native, including a Manhattan cityscape and some abstract creations (the documentary films playing in the adjacent theatre -- worth a look-see -- explained the varied reasons O'Keeffe's early works differed from her more famous flowers, landscapes and nature-rich works).

One detailed vertical canvas showcased paint resembling black velvet, drawing out a sand-polished animal skull crowned with a large flower blossom -- too cool!

It was fun to see a private collection portrait of a nun-like female figure (I think this canvas is in rotation at the Milwaukee Art Museum, in O'Keeffe's home state).

New-to-my-eyes: Trees and vistas as seen from the artist's home studio at Abiquiu; dreamy nighttime images from O'Keeffe's camping trips in the highlands far west of Santa Fe; religious icons including Kachinas (fabulous!), church steeples, a sunlight cross in a large Easter-themed painting; rooster portraits (i.e. The China Cock) and the rushing mountain waters of Chama River, Ghost Ranch cast in sky blue.

In the museum shop and on the walls of the exhibition, I took time (with the help of the friendly staff) to locate more details about O'Keeffe's 1935 canvas titled Yellow Cactus, which hangs about midway through the exhibition but visible down the length of a main museum corridor.

With their team, the co-curators of the exhibition, Carolyn Kastner and Barbara Buhler Lynes, chose to hang Yellow Cactus in one direction (vertically, as I recall), while several published catalogs of O'Keeffe's work present Yellow Cactus horizontally. This led to the biggest lesson of the evening (something I just never noticed in 23 years as an O'K fan): O'Keeffe did not sign her works; therefore, many of them (the florals in particular) may be presented in any direction. While typing this blog tonight, I wonder still whether the museum team went back and re-hung the painting as a result of my gift shop sleuthing.

The visit to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum delivered all I hoped the experience would include and more. Beautiful works, a mix of popular and rarely viewed paintings, detailed history lessons and reminders of longtime favorites. Future plans definitely include return visits, and a trek to the artist's Ghost Ranch home and studio, for which tours are available.

Get yourself to New Mexico and see this outstanding summer exhibition!

Photos by Nicholas Wolaver; image of Yellow Cactus via; postage stamp image via U.S. Postal Service. Special thanks to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum for providing complimentary ticket to the exhibition.



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