Art historian Wanda Corn tackles Georgia O’Keeffe

Wanda Corn
Professor Emerita Wanda Corn at the ”Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern” exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. Photo by Tim Hout

WANDA CORN, who has been a pioneer in the art world for more than 30 years, isn’t slowing down. The renowned art historian and Robert and Ruth Halperin Professor in Art History, Emerita, has a new project— this one the artist Georgia O’Keeffe.

Corn’s ties to Stanford are long. When she joined Stanford in 1981, it was a momentous occasion for the university and for the field of art history. She was Stanford’s first appointment in the history of American art. A specialist in late 19th- and early 20th-century art, she was also one of the first academics to integrate photography and California artists into the history of American art curriculum.

Eight years into her tenure at Stanford, she became the first female chair of the Department of Art and the acting director of the Stanford Museum. From 1992 to 1995, she was the Anthony P. Meier Family Professor and Director of the Stanford Humanities Center. When JOHN HENNESSY became president in 2000, and JOHN ETCHEMENDY became provost, Corn shared a vision with them of creating an arts neighborhood by relocating the Art Department, library and its collections within the vicinity of the museum. Besides the Cantor Center for Visual Arts, that district now includes the Bing Concert Hall, the Anderson Collection and the McMurtry Building for the Department of Art and Art History.

Corn continues to influence and shape the field of art history. Her latest project is an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum titled Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern, through July 23. Research for the project was made possible when Stanford nominated her for a Mellon Emeritus Fellowship.

The exhibition is groundbreaking, as it is the first installation dedicated to an artist’s clothes and domestic environment in the context of their art. See the New York Times article here.

“I think we are making museological history with this show,” said Corn. “The multimedia content and the elegant installation are getting enormous attention along with the fact that this approach produces an O’Keeffe we did not know. We have reinvigorated and reestablished her place in cultural history.”

Read the entire story on the Stanford News website.