Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Georgia on My Mind

Went to the launch of the Georgia O'Keefe show at IMMA last night, opened by Thomas Foley , the American ambassador to Ireland. Much ado about nothing I felt. A very poor selection, with only one dark abstract piece catching my eye. IMMA doesn't loom large on the world stage and so it obviously had difficulty getting any of the major works. There were none of her large flower pieces, or her desert bones - apart from a straightforward sunflower and one clumsy bone in a desert offering. A lot of the work dated from before she met Stieglitz and before she moved to New Mexico - the two major influences on her art. The work seemed flat, pallid and uninteresting to me - I'm not a great fan of pastel colours anyway . I like her large ambiguous flowers - full of pistils, stamens and fecundity, not the dried up abstract offerings we got in Kilmainham..

The ambassador was introduced by the director of IMMA, Enrique Juncosa. His English has improved dramatically since he moved here a few years ago and he made a short and succinct speech touching on O'Keefe's Irish origins. Foley, of course, is a former Harvard buddy of Bush's and was sent into Iraq after the invasion to privatise the semi-state sectors. He famously described Iraq as a "modern California gold rush” - how wrong can you be. He made a mercifully brief formulaic speech from notes - spouting about the contribution of Ireland to American culture.

There were a fair few artists in attendance including Alice Maher very upbeat about her move to Mayo; John Noel Smith buoyed by a sell-out show in Cork's Vangard Gallery; and the ubiquitous Gwen O'Dowd. Aidan Dunne was there as well - unusual for him, he doesn't attend many openings, but I suppose Georgia can hardly hassle him about his Irish times review.

You wonder about all the time and effort that went into something so insubstantial.