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Ode to “Mountain at Bear Lake — Taos”

When last we met I told the story of how Hillary Clinton brought Georgia O’Keeffe’s “Mountain at Bear Lake — Taos” (1930) to the White House. Now I’d like to share videos by two young women paying homage to that painting.

Lauren Blankenship and Natalia Gabrielsen were two of the winners of “This Art is Your Art,” an online competition hosted last year by the White House Historical Association, Artsy, and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. The competition invited graduate and undergraduate students in the United States to create videos responding to works of art in the White House.

Here are their videos, below, testament to the continuing power of O’Keeffe to inspire:

As a local student at Portland State University, Lauren Blankenship drew on the personal connections she felt to O’Keeffe’s nature-based painting by recording her grandfather singing a traditional logging song while showing scenes from her local landscape. This “soundtrack of the past,” as she called it, helps to express her relationship with her current environment.

Natalia Gabrielsen, a graduate student of Art History at the University of Arizona, used the competition to investigate O’Keeffe’s artistic practice through the lens of her native environment in Arizona. “As someone who has spent a significant portion of my life in the Southwestern United States,” she wrote, “Mountain at Bear Lake – Taos deeply resonated with me. I wanted to speak to my region and represent its beauty to the country.”

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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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