Arts, Culture & Media

American Icons: Georgia O'Keeffe's Skull Paintings

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This is life and death in the American desert.

"The men were all talking about the great American novel, the great American play,...the great American everything," said Georgia O'Keeffe, who fled the East Coast art world for New Mexico. "So I thought . . . I'll make it an American painting." O'Keeffe painted cow and deer skulls floating over delicate abstract landscapes of the New Mexico desert. An art historian, a tour guide, and an interior designer explain the appeal of the skulls; a retiree tells how their magnetism drew her to settle in the Southwest.

"Georgia O'Keeffe's Skull Paintings" was produced by Ann Heppermann and Kara Oehler and edited by Emily Botein. Composer and percussionist Aaron Siegel created music for the story.

Special thanks to Perry Miller Adato and WNET for use of audio from the documentary film: Georgia O'Keeffe.

Slideshow: Georgia O'Keeffe's World

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