The ‘beautiful chaos’ of Modern Times at Philly Art Museum

“Modernism” is an almost too-large term that catches many art movements in its 20th-century net — impressionism, cubism, fauvism, expressionism — which didn’t all see eye to eye.

If modernism had a power couple, it might be photographer Alfred Stieglitz, who thrived in his gallery in Manhattan, and his wife, Georgia O’Keeffe, who found inspiration in the deserts of New Mexico.

“There was a moment where people celebrated the machine, celebrated technology and innovation as a completely positive force. Other artists were leery of that,” said Jessica Todd Smith, curator of Modern Times: Modern Art 1910 – 1950.

“There was a group of modernists who really took solace and inspiration in the natural environment and weren’t interested in the geometry of the city,” she said. “Others went the other way, who found cities energizing and exciting places.”

Smith included not just O’Keeffe and Steiglitz, but furniture Wharton Esherick crafted in his secluded forest

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