Hello, Kahlo

» Hello, Kahlo

Hello, Kahlo

Blog_kahlo Last weekend I did the reverse cultural commute and hopped a train out of Manhattan to see an art show—specifically, Frida Kahlo, the first major U.S. exhibition of the artist’s work in fifteen years.  On display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through May 18, the forty-two pieces, some never before exhibited publicly, span Kahlo’s ground-breaking oeuvre, from self-portraits to symbolic paintings (including Frieda and Diego Rivera, a portrait that announced her marriage to the famed muralist) to still lifes. Among the masterpieces showcased are Henry Ford Hospital, an allegorical depiction of what many consider to be the first portrayal of miscarriage in contemporary art, and her vivid Still Life With Parrot and Fruit.  Sprinkled amidst these works are a trove of photographs of the artist, some by famous friends like Tina Modotti and Carl Van Vechten, which capture Kahlo’s affluent childhood in Mexico City, as well as hint at her indiscretions (one is of Kahlo and Leon Trotsky, with whom she had a scandalous affair during his exile). And who knew Patti Smith and Kiki Smith were such Kahlo fans? The pair are among a handful of guest stars on the exhibit’s audio tour, with the rocker admitting that she based her own formative relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe on Frida and Diego’s stormy, creativity-fuelled marriage.