In addition to attracting growing popularity in its own right, Frida Kahlo’s evolution from Mexican artist and wife of Diego Rivera to a pop culture icon has created a fertile landscape for art museums to engage with. various members of their communities. No other artist seems so revered and marketed at the same time. Where does this intense Fridamana come from?
Kahlo was born in 1907, on the eve of the Mexican Revolution. She identified herself as Métis: someone of half indigenous and half European ancestry. The artist lived most of his life with his family in a neoclassical mansion, affectionately called Casa Azul; she will return there during her last years. Poor health marked a large part of the artist’s life. She contracted polio at a young age, suffered a car / cart accident, and underwent invasive surgeries that invalidated the artist for long periods of time. It was this misfortune that prompted Kahlo to paint during the time she spent recovering.
The artist met her husband, Diego Rivera, while she was attending art school and quickly married in 1929. While Rivera’s popularity had eclipsed hers in the 1930s, the trend’s roots were The growing number of people to appropriate his work find their origin in this same period through the pen of André Breton. Shortly after arriving in Mexico, the surrealist lawyer became passionate about her work; after seeing his 1938 painting What the water gave me, he proclaimed her “natural surrealist”, a label she struggled to ignore throughout her career. In an interview with Time magazine in 1953, Kahlo said, “They thought I was a surrealist, but I wasn’t, I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality. However, some actors in the art world have used the surreal label to make her work more digestible and refined for foreign palates – a Mexican artist for international tastes.
After being propelled into the international spotlight, Frida began to retain her public image. She chose the aspects of her life that others could see and established the filter through which they saw her – the character of someone more Mexican than Mexican. The artist did not want to blend in with the crowd; she wanted to be seen. Almost all of his paintings contain a self-representation that varies both in quantity – some contain several symbolic references while others convey little – and in degree of abstraction.
Since his death in 1954, his popularity has steadily increased and peaked with his status as an icon. She has been praised by fashion aficionados for her costume, claimed by feminists as a cutting-edge female artist, and adopted by the LGBTQ community for her sexual and gender fluency – even Madonna has claimed her as a hero. staff. By becoming a reference figure for so many groups, it is not surprising that today we live in a world of Fridomania. Key chains, hardback books, nail polish, dolls, mugs, shirts and costumes infused with Kahlomania are just a few of the products that people can purchase online or even at their local stores.
As public-facing institutions seeking opportunities to connect with their communities, art museums naturally find Frida Kahlo as an attractive subject for their exhibitions. Not only does his work appeal to diverse audiences, it also allows them to delve into a rich collection of revered works of art. The origins of its popularity in cultural institutions can be traced back to an exhibition of Kahlo’s work in 1982 at the Whitechapel Gallery in London, and in 2005 the Tate Modern hosted its first comprehensive retrospective.
The Brooklyn Museum recently wrapped up its “Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving” exhibition in New York City. The institution claimed that the exhibition was the largest in ten years dedicated to the painter and the first in the United States to feature a collection of her clothing and other personal effects. “Frida Kahlo and Arte Popular,” an exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts that explores Kahlo’s enduring engagements with art for the people and his passion for objects, closes June 16, 2019. Fridamana fans can turn to go to the Frist Museum in Nashville, Tennessee for the last show, Mexican modernism, featuring the works of Kahlo.
Image: Frida Kahlo, by Guillermo Kahlo, 1932