When we think of Frida Kahlo, certain words pop into our mind: vibrant, creative, self-confident, unibrowed, iconic, and more. But who was she really? Her artwork and high profile marriage to master Mexican muralist, Diego Rivera, is merely the surface of the public persona who lived a short but profound life. Kahlo was a provocative visionary who recognized the importance of presenting a meticulously constructed public image way before Kim Kardashian. Frida Kahlo "vlogged" her self-disclosure in paintings, photographs, and videos that continue to intrigue 65 years after her death. Just ask any of her nearly 1M, and counting, fans on Instagram!
The "Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving" exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum provides an unprecedented opportunity for us to see Frida Kahlo more intimately than her paintings. The exhibition debuts a treasure trove of over 350 never-before-seen personal objects and artifacts recently uncovered from the artist's acclaimed Mexico City home, La Casa Azul (Blue House). Items include her jewelry, Tehuantepec clothing, images, medical devices, even the nail polish and signature red lipstick she wore.
Kahlo was a provocative visionary who recognized the importance of presenting a meticulously constructed public image way before Kim Kardashian.
The unique exhibit takes us beyond the canvas to a deeper understanding of Kahlo behind her public image. One revelation that during a tragic bus accident in 1925 an iron handrail pierced Kahlo’s back and pelvis; she’d lay bedridden for months. Instead of the disability stopping Frida, it empowered her to reconsider herself as the canvas. During recovery, she'd created art on the orthopedic plaster corsets that confined her; you’ll see these casts on display at the Brooklyn Museum too. What she did to them is an eye-opening window into how she perceived her own healing body as a work of art in progress.
A proud Mexican woman, Kahlo’s ambition, cultural, and political views shine throughout introspective self-portraits and colorful traditional outfits. This collection of unearthed videos, fashions, and personal objects, truly puts her heart and art into perspective. The best time to visit the museum is during the weekday—this exhibit is so popular nearly all of the advance weekend tickets are gone.
Even if you don’t win, catch this exhibit on display until May 12th in Brooklyn–the hustle-hard capital of the arts in NYC. Some of the world’s most prominent artists have emerged and been inspired by the incredible city. It’s a no-brainer the most significant Frida Kahlo exhibit to date would find a home in Brooklyn’s own heart of inspiration, the Brooklyn Museum. You don’t want to miss this!
[Feature Image Courtesy Nickolas Muray (American, born Hungary, 1892–1965). Frida with Idol, 1939. Carbon print, 11 ¼ × 16 ¼ in. (28.6 × 41.3 cm). Courtesy of Nickolas Muray Photo Archives. © Nickolas Muray Photo Archives]