National Cow Girls Museum

This afternoon Tina and I went to a Georgia O’keeffe exhibit over in fort Worth at the National Cowgirls Museum.

Georgia O’Keeffe and the Far Away: Nature and Image

Open through Labor Day, 2010

Through our partnership with the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, NM, we are proud to present a groundbreaking exhibition featuring one of the most famous artists of the 20th century: 1991 Cowgirl Hall of Fame Honoree Georgia O’Keeffe.

O’Keeffe’s connection to the American West and her reputation at the forefront of American modernism are essential to the premise of this exhibition and pertinent to her induction into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame. She identified herself with the ideals of the West- rugged individuality, fierce courage and a quest for the untamed. Nowhere is this more evident than through her arduous camping trips to paint the landscape of northern New Mexico, a place she romantically referred to as “the faraway.”

This 3,000 square foot exhibit, housed in the lower gallery of the Museum, includes several of O’Keeffe’s paintings on loan from museums and private collectors from around the country. Also included are her camping gear, which has never before been displayed to the public; numerous sketches made by the artist while camping and hiking in northern New Mexico; selected pieces of her clothing, including the black hat familiar to her many fans; multiple photos taken of her while camping; and many other images documenting her affinity with the West.

Their permanent collection upstairs celebrates the cowgirls from Annie Oakley to women ranchers and rodeo riders on the Women’s Rodeo circuit.

When we got to Texas we were taught various ‘Texas” phrases one of which was “Cowboy up or Cowgirl up”. When your horse (life) throws you and then steps on your foot when you get up.  You “cow girl up” and get back on the damned horse instead of wasting your time crying about how unfair it all is.

The women of the early west were strong.  They had to be because life was hard and there was so much work to be done on the ranches.

One picture was of Native kid named “Linder” (Linda) One Path, who entered steer riding contests as an eleven year old.  They assumed she was a little boy until the third time she did it and they found out she was a girl.  She said I ‘tolt you my name was Linda’…

In early rodeo the women and men competed in the same events until they ran the women out.  Guess they couldn’t handle the competition.

When I look at how these women shredded the social constructs of gender and how transgender folks reify them, I have to ask just who are the real “gender outlaws”.

One Response to “National Cow Girls Museum”

  1. Caroline Says:

    Verging on jealous that you can see a show like this. When I am not admiring her work I use the large format book to flatten prints!

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