—SUM Research, Innovation, and Creativity at CUNY
Was Georgia O’Keeffe a Feminist?
“Feminism has never been a black-and-white concept, but today’s debates on the ‘F-word’ have revealed just how complicated it can be. For Professor Linda Grasso, few historical figures inhabit that complexity as well as Georgia O’Keeffe, whose success in a male-dominated field and large-scale flower paintings have endowed her with an enduring feminist legacy.”
—The Graduate Center, City University of New York
Georgia O’Keeffe’s Tangled Feminist Roots
“. . . Grasso’s book serves the broader purpose of reasserting women’s historical presence in the art world. ‘The issue is making sure that change sticks and there’s a historical memory about the change,’ she says. ‘If you’re not aware and it’s not written out, you have to keep starting over again.'”
Book Review, Woman’s Art Journal (subscription) Volume 39, Number 1 (2018), 64.
“Even for someone like myself, who has been examining and following the O’Keeffe story for forty years, this book is a fascinating and welcome addition to the oeuvre.”
—Ann Daly, Essayist, Austin, TX
“Georgia O’Keeffe: feminist forever”
“In six chapters, Grasso takes up a different aspect of O’Keeffe — ‘her art, relationships, fans, and audiences.'”
“My favorite, and the most original contribution to the literature, is the one on O’Keeffe’s fan mail. The letters are so fresh, and vivid. The glimpse of a larger, creative life that the artist gave to ordinary women, who pinned up reproductions of her paintings from popular magazines like Life and Time on their kitchen bulletin boards, was powerful — even life-changing. ‘For her female fans,’ Grasso writes, ‘O’Keeffe’s pinup is her art, not her body, and she is knowable because she and her work are familiar and full of hope.'”
”Equal Under the Sky offers a fresh perspective on Georgia O’Keeffe and the symbiosis between her art and 20th century feminism. Grasso’s writing is lively and accessible, not always the case with English professors of post-everything critical theory! The contradictions in O’Keeffe’s feminism are teased out with finesse. And the message that there is no one monolithic feminism for all people for all time comes across loud and clear.”
—Laurie Lisle, author of Portrait of an Artist: A Biography of Georgia O’Keeffe
“Was Georgia O’Keeffe a Feminist?”
“Professor Grasso’s challenge has been to synthesize and interpret the voluminous amount of material, including the two-volume catalog raisonne and thousand of letters, published since I wrote my biography.
She has focused on one of the most interesting aspects of the artist’s life: her feminism. She analyzes its influence on the youthful O’Keeffe and the older O’Keeffe’s rejection of it, while giving readers an impressive study.”
“In this engaging and provocative study, Linda M. Grasso positions Georgia O’Keeffe’s identity and art making, her lived experiences and social/political allegiances, within the larger historical context of contested feminist politics in twentieth-century America. Combining a deeply researched discussion of the complexities of feminist movements in the US with biographical information drawn from an impressive array of primary sources, Grasso opens new possibilities for understanding and evaluating O’Keeffe’s continuing but conflicted relationship with varied aspects of American feminist experience.”
“Offers a fresh look at Georgia O’Keeffe and the multiple ways that feminism shaped her art, artistic identity, and career. Drawing from rich primary sources, including fan letters to O’Keeffe and media coverage of the artist, Linda M. Grasso demythologizes O’Keeffe’s self-representation as a gender transcendent great American modernist and gives us a picture of O’Keeffe’s art as political and intricately connected to the feminist movements that shaped modernism and twentieth-century American culture.”