Artists Want to Protect O'Keeffe's 'Black Place' From Drilling

NAGEEZI, N.M. -- Some artists and environmentalists are concerned oil and gas drilling is encroaching on the black, white and gray hills in northwestern New Mexico made famous in Georgia O'Keeffe's drawings and paintings.

While the "Black Place" itself remains untouched, The New Mexican reports that there are dozens of drilling tanks 500 yards from the site, and it's surrounded by rigs and a maze of dusty dirt roads traveled by oil field workers.

Robert Kret, the head of the O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, says he had a preliminary discussion with state preservation officials, and another meeting is planned. But state officials state that it's too early to say what could be done to protect the Black Place.

The area is on federal land just east of the Navajo community of Nageezi.

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