Frida Kahlo’s Home Is Still Unlocking Secrets, 50 Years Later

Love for her model has inflated the standing of her artwork all out of proportion, and in current many years it’s turn into an article of religion that Kahlo was a extra essential painter than her acclaimed husband, certainly one of many indeniable greats. This is — nicely, not true, sorry! In Brooklyn you’ll discover some engrossing self-portraits, together with MoMA’s extreme “Self-Portrait With Cropped Hair,” however Kahlo additionally painted half-competent nonetheless lifes, gross Stalinist agitprop, and ghastly New Age kitsch — together with this present’s “The Love Embrace of the Universe …,” a world-spiritualist tableau that includes a lactating Mother Earth that may make Deepak Chopra blanch. I’d title many different Mexicans, women and men, who drew extra productively on surrealist, folks and indigenous vocabularies to drive a brand new artwork after the revolution, together with Rivera, the wily modernist Dr. Atl, the Mexico-based Englishwoman Leonora Carrington and the ripe-for-rediscovery Alice Rahon.

Yet Kahlo was a pioneer in self-disclosure, a nationwide advocate and a necessary social connector, brokering introductions between Americans and Europeans and the native avant-garde. She posed continuously for the perfect photographers, together with Tina Modotti, Carl Van Vechten, Imogen Cunningham and Edward Weston. Her actual accomplishment, this present proposes, was a Duchampian extension of her artwork far past the easel, into her house, her trend and her public relationships. Which makes her, for good and ailing, a determine proper for our time — and in addition complicates the straightforward opposition between her Communist convictions and right now’s world Frida trade.

[Read extra about how Frida Kahlo meticulously constructed her personal picture.]

Kahlo was born in 1907 within the Coyoacán neighborhood of Mexico City, in a newly constructed home referred to as the Casa Azul. At 6, she contracted polio. At 18, a trolley automotive rammed into the bus she was using; the accident shattered her backbone and diminished her proper leg to bits. Her father, Guillermo, a photographer who specialised in architectural documentation, took a proper, Europeanized portrait of her a number of months after the accident, which seems within the first gallery right here. She wears an extended, darkish silk costume and clasps a e book in her arms; her hair is pulled again, her mien is stern. Her proper leg, agonizing her, lies half-hidden.

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