Art Appreciation, Cunt-Style: Georgia O’Keeffe swears she didn’t paint vaginas, you guys.

7 August 2013 by 61 Comments

Editor’s note: Some people have taken me to task about this article because they think I’m literally reducing O’Keeffe’s work to vulvas. … No? It’s not literal. It’s not my literal interpretation of her work. It’s humor.

To continue our celebration about cunts, I wanted to write about Georgia O’Keeffe, famous painter of cunts. However, I hit a little snag . . .

No, I'm srs. I never painted vaginas.


Feminists have been celebrating the work of Georgia O’Keeffe for decades because of her use of evocative feminine imagery. Many hail her as the “originator of female iconography;” artist Judy Chicago gave O’Keeffe the last, and tallest, place setting in her work The Dinner Party, which celebrates females that Chicago feels were not given their proper due. (There are lots of vaginas in her work, for suresies.) Chicks are mostly pretty stoked that Ms. O’Keeffe had the ovaries to lay it all down on canvas for the world to see–except, there’s one teeny, tiny problem.

Georgia O’Keeffe was only painting flowers, you see. Extreme close-ups of flowers. She never meant for them to be interpreted as vaginal imagery at all, and refused to cooperate with any namby-pamby* “women’s liberation” or “feminist” stuff that claimed she did.


HOW DID WE GET THIS SO WRONG? Have we really been interpreting her art this poorly for nearly a century? Shit. I guess we better have a look.


Nope. No vaginas here, really.


I guess you could KIND OF say that hill in the background is a vagina, if you really want to stretch it. Er, not stretch a vagina. Never mind.


Slightly more suggestive, but nothing to write home about, I guess.


Er. Hmm…


That’s got a lotta labia for not-a-vagina…


I dunno guys, this looks like it could be a vagina.

Music Pink and Blue II

Definite vagina.

Georgia O'Keeffe Paintings Art 7




Pelvis with the Distance

This painting has the word “pelvis” IN THE TITLE. It is literally of a pelvis.

Look, Georgia. (Can I call you Georgia? Wait, you’re dead–you wouldn’t know if I called you Twatty McCuntress. But let’s stick with Georgia. I don’t want to be rude to a great artist.) I’m not trying to say that you didn’t TOTALLY THINK you were painting flowers. But like, okay–here’s the thing about flowers? Flowers are like . . . mostly vagina. It’s true: flowers are primarily made up of sex organs and things that surround the sex organs. In fact, they have both male and female sex organs, which ups the kinkiness factor a tad.



So, the ovary is nestled down inside, and then there’s a long tube (kinda like a Fallopian tube, no?) that goes to the ovary, and then it’s surrounded by petals. The petals are kind of like . . . well . . . the vagina of the flower. And those little stems that make the pollen are the penises. You know that time of year when everything is blooming and the trees have flowers all over them and your eyes are all red and they won’t stop watering and you sneeze like a billion times a day everything is so pretty? Those trees are gettin’ DOWN, son. Cross-pollinatin’ and shit. We are talking KINKY. PLANT. SEXYTIMES. unf unf unf.


So, G-dawg, I don’t want to burst your bubble or anything, but you kind of were painting vaginas all that time. I know that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but a flower is pretty much always a cunt.

What do you guys think? Flower or vagina? LEAVE YOUR ART COMMENTS BELOW (but keep your kinky plant sex to yourself.  . . . oh, just kidding, we love kinky plant sex).

*GO’K never used the term “namby-pamby” about feminism, as far as I know.



Susie is the Bitch-in-Chief at IB and is also a contributor at Book Riot. She's an ice cream connoisseur, an art fanatic, a cat-mommy of three, and a wife. She runs the @thebooksluts Twitter account and may be slightly addicted.

61 thoughts on “Art Appreciation, Cunt-Style: Georgia O’Keeffe swears she didn’t paint vaginas, you guys.

    • My brain tried to coalesce that into some kind of “Georgia On My Mind”/cunts on her mind joke, but it didn’t make it. :(

  1. What next? Books? Movies? I’m sure the following works were merely misspelled, the better to hide their feminist agenda:
    Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country — Kirk ventures where no man has gone before. Hoo-ha!
    No Country For Old Men — well it’s true. Sometimes they just don’t “do it” for the ladies anymore.
    Disney’s The Country Bears — Um, I sort of regret typing this.

  2. It’s funny, I was thinking, “well….flowers kind of ARE vaginas” and then you said it. So pretty much, yes, I agree. That’s funny that she was like “Nope NOT AT ALL” and then, yes, yes she was. They are very pretty paintings.

    And everyone likes flowers, right? But everyone has all this crap about vaginas are this terrible terrible thing or something? LIES. Everyone likes them. So everyone should just get over it. :)

  3. Yes and No.

    Artists aren’t the only people allowed to have an opinion on their work, they do have to let go of it, and when you get a body of work which says certain things to people over and over, then you don’t get to contradict them. On the other hand, Judy Chicago doesn’t get to call ‘cunt’ about everything that isn’t ‘dick’. I saw her speak once, and she was extremely bossy – but then, given the situation of the status of women in the art world even now, let alone then, maybe she had a right to be like that, or maybe she HAD to be the bossiest boss in the bossy room just to get heard.

  4. I think I just cried a little. GO’K was one of those She-Gods that I admired for daring to tell social propriety to shove it! I think I’ll keep my delusion and continue envisioning purposeful vaginas (why does spell check say that I am spelling that wrong?) in her paintings.

    • SPELL CHECK DID THAT TO ME TOO! I was all, hell no I am not typing “vaginae” (like it suggested). I took Latin in high school, but that’s too much even for me.

  5. This is all true. Some plants separate the stamen and the stigma to separate flowers, making them male (staminate) and female (carpellate) flowers – presumably to avoid self-pollination. Other plants go one step further and each individual only ever produce one type of flowers, making the plants single-sexed. A holly plant, for instance, will always produce either male or female flowers exclusively. But the majority of plants are fully bisexual.

    • Man, I think we’d better tell the Westboro Baptist Church about this so they can go picket some flower shops for being immoral. BISEXUAL FLOWERS! I mean, sincerely. I’m pretty sure the Bible CLEARLY STATES “no boy-flower shall lay down with another boy-flower as if that flower is his flower-wife.”

      I’m going to go make my sandwich board for the inevitable picketing that’s going to occur, here.

  6. I just watched a play about Georgia O’Keeffe. I kind of love her. She was very rule-breaky and stubborn and a pretty fantastic woman. I’m fairly sure she’d be more than down with Cunt Week.

    I guess you can CHOOSE to interpret the paintings however you’d like…however, in my head, I like to think Georgia was all, “No. Those are ABSOLUTELY NOT VAGINAS, people,” very sternly, then she went home and got into bed with Alfred Steiglitz and said “I TOLD THEM AGAIN THAT THE FLOWERS WEREN’T VAGINAL!” and they both howled with laughter until they cried a little, and then had some fantastic sex.

  7. If I didn’t believe in the depths of my soul that Freud was a cocaine-addled fuckwit who had some reeeeeally questionable feelings for his mom, I might say that maybe Georgia’s paintings were some kind of latent sexual desire for da ladeez or something…but it’s probably more likely that she just REALLY liked flowers. As someone who enjoys taking photographs of flowers (including extreme close-ups!) for no particular reason, I can totally see that being her motivation. Or maybe she just wanted to make a statement without actually coming out and making one. Who knows. What I do know is that those flowers are DEFINITELY vagina-ey. (Damn, that doesn’t sound nearly as good as “cunty”…)

    • If I didn’t believe in the depths of my soul that Freud was a cocaine-addled fuckwit who had some reeeeeally questionable feelings for his mom

      This made me laugh crazy.

  8. if you really want to stretch it. Er, not stretch a vagina. Never mind.

    Totally made me giggle. Also:


    You know, I actually only ever knew about O’Keefe’s paintings of animal skulls. I had no idea about the vagina flowers! Though, now that I look at them more closely, some of those animal bone paintings are kind of suggestive…like this one. And this one…or is my mind just now corrupted to see vaginas everywhere? Darn you, Bookslutscunts! ;)

    And now of course I’m thinking of this mock movie poster, and the comics that inspired it.

  9. Ok, I love you guys and all but here’s the thing. She really didn’t paint vaginas.

    Those are vulvas and labias. And maybe a clitoris or two. It would be way too dark to paint a vagina. Unless she had a speculum and a miner’s hat or something.

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  12. This stuff always makes me sad, I know that O’Keefe was devastated when critics over sexualized her work and the nude portraits of her that her husband took. In fact she went through a phase where all she painted was fruit because of it.

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  17. Look, she wasn’t drawing sexual imagery if she said she wasn’t. Because art is interpretive, it may very well have come to mean that. Since almost everyone today looks at her artwork and sees vaginal forms, that’s what her artwork means, because it’s the viewer who interprets, giving the viewed object its meaning. But that doesn’t have ANYTHING to do with her intention. Looking at the artwork with a view to understanding it as she saw it will have nothing to do with abjured the popular conception of her artwork’s vulvic imagery.If the artist’s understanding of her own artwork counts for anything than instead of just stridently holding forth that O’ Keefe’s opinion means nothing, one should be honest and respect her feelings (AS THE ARTIST) and THEN go on to assert that many years of popular perception and some critical analysis have produced a new interpretation.

  18. Ms. O’Keefe was painting *paintings*, sensual, yes, even sexual paintings in the sense that, yes, they evoke petals and skin and tender tissues. But they are paintings, not snapshots of anything. They are not just tinted, glorified version of some photo her husband shot of a vulva. Just as those stamens are not penises but are sensual representations of something that is sexual in the big sense of the word. But she took all that imagery, plus brilliant colors and use of shading and texture to create gorgeous *painting*. It’s art, damn it. Enjoy it.

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