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Brooklyn Museum highlights Georgia O’Keeffe as style icon

NEW YORK — A New York City museum is highlighting Georgia O’Keeffe’s role as a style icon.

The Brooklyn Museum exhibit — titled “Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern” — features clothing, paintings and photos. It’s part of a yearlong project celebrating feminist thinking.

Guest curator Wanda M. Corn studied six decades worth of O’Keeffe’s garments and accessories.

She concluded that O’Keeffe, who made many of her clothes, also was an artist “in her homemaking and self-fashioning.”

Exhibit coordinator Lisa Small says O’Keeffe’s distinctive clothing style symbolized her lifelong commitment to minimalism.

Even as a high school student, O’Keeffe avoided popular bows and frills.

Her paintings and clothes reflected a black-and-white palette while she was in New York and desert hues in New Mexico.

There’s a colorful exception from the artist’s New York years: an evening coat from the late 1920s or early 1930s.

The elegant wraparound coat is black with a spritz of white accents at the top. A sophisticated vertical splash with blocks of dark blue, royal blue, maroon, red, orange and yellow flows gracefully toward the hem. It’s actually part of the coat’s lining, but it’s draped in a manner that allows museumgoers to admire it.

The coat is “fastened by a sizeable mother-of-pearl button, her favorite button color and material,” according to the exhibit description. “Though she did not mingle much with the artistic and literary women in Greenwich Village, this is the kind of highly personalized ‘art dress’ they favored.”

Its design incorporates details from the American Arts and Crafts Movement, Corn writes. While it’s not known for certain who created it, she writes, the coat “reiterates elements O’Keeffe favored at this time and these suggest that she was the maker.”

The show also features portraits of O’Keeffe by famous photographers, including Alfred Stieglitz, who was her husband; Ansel Adams; Cecil Beaton; and Annie Leibovitz.

The exhibit runs through July 23.