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Before it was “O’Keeffe Country”

As a historian, I am always on the lookout for contemporary documentation, in order to understand what/how things meant in their own day. Somehow I stumbled upon this film about New Mexico by Carl Dudley, an American director and producer well-known for his short travelogues. It was copyrighted in 1947, at the same time that Georgia O’Keeffe was in the throes of renovating her second New Mexico home, in Abiquiu.

The film shows us how the history and persona of the state had already been exoticized for tourist consumption, its indigenous communities portrayed as primitive and entertaining. In time, the O’Keeffe brand would be mapped atop that landscape, morphing into what we know today as “O’Keeffe Country.”

My Georgia O'Keeffe

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Ann Daly PhD is an essayist specializing in women and women's history. She is working on a book about Georgia O'Keeffe.

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