STILL LIFE: Kahlo and O’ Keeffe

Frida Kahlo and Georgia O'Keeffe

Written by Harry Clark

2M: guitar and cello
Single Fluid Set

“First time I set eyes on her was at MOMA—New York’s Museum of Modern Art. You couldn’t miss her though the exhibit was a retrospective of her husband’s work, Diego Rivera. She looked 12 but I assumed even Diego would make sure she was 16 before taking a new wife.” Georgia O’ Keeffe

“November 15, 1933, My Georgia,

Happy Birthday. You are 46, same age as Diego. I am 26. Some things are immutable. Our meeting three years past at MOMA was memorable. Not one word spoken yet I remember you as fondly as New York dime stores, Tarzan and gorilla movies, and my favorite—nyuk, nyuk, nyuk—The Three Stooges. Poifection!”  Frida Kahlo

There are two ultimately pleasing scenarios in any new venture. The first scenario is that everything is hard—the writing, getting it off the ground, the team—but the result is OK, maybe even better than OK. Whew! The second, a more ominous one, is that things go smoothly, no bumps, yet the result is also OK, sometimes much better than OK. Double whew!! The unpleasant scenarios, never mind!

I had a tremendous time dipping into the lives and art of Georgia O’ Keeffe (OK) and Frida Kahlo (FK). Like two wary prize fighters, they’d circle one another for a long time before revealing themselves. So what would they share at the beginning? Early childhood memories: FK’s imaginary friend; OK’s Wisconsin dollhouse. Recipes: OK’s applesauce; FK’s pumpkin flower quesadilla. Then their love of country and place, and on to their men and muses—Diego Rivera and Alfred Stieglitz. And finally, they’d get rip-roaring drunk on pulche and tequila shots and reveal the rest. All of this coupled with evocative interludes of visuals and music for guitar and cello.

Still Life is my first work that is being translated into Spanish for staging in Mexico. Hasta la vista, Gringolandia!