Dead But Still Alive
Mexican artist Frida Kahlo died 61 years ago but today, on the anniversary of her 108th birthday, it’s as if she’s still alive. Or in the words of The New York Times, “Frida Kahlo is Having a Moment.”
Wife of Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, Kahlo was famed for her brooding gaze, elaborately braided Tehuana coiffures and excessive facial hair. Her unconventional beauty was celebrated instead of scorned because of her artistic creativity and lust for life experiences. Kahlo created more than 140 paintings during her career, 55 of which are self-portraits. The Blue House (La Casa Azul) where she grew up in the Coyocán section of Mexico City is now a museum honoring her life.
2015 was the Summer of Kahlo. In Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. at the NSU Art Museum Kahlo’s stormy relationship with Rivera was the subject of an exhibition called “Kahlo, Rivera and Mexican Modern Art.” In New York, her photos and portraits were featured at Throckmorton Fine Art in Manhattan. Across town New York’s Botanical Garden recreated the backyard at Casa Azul to show the source of her inspiration. Replete with an Aztec-inspired pyramid designed by Rivera, Mexican succulents and rose-colored terra-cotta planters, the exhibit “Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life” will continue until November 1.
The biggest and by far the best look at Kahlo and Rivera was at the Detroit Institute of Arts, home to the massive Detroit
Industry murals Rivera painted in 1932. Commissioned by Edsel Ford, the 27 panels Rivera painted onto wet plaster ensuring that the colors would never fade have National Historic Landmark status and annually attract thousands of visitors.
Rivera and Kahlo were nicknamed “elephant and the dove” because at the time of their marriage Rivera was 6’ 1” and 300
pounds while Kahlo was 5’ 3” and 98 pounds. Kahlo hated the U.S. and left Detroit after one year, but the murals on permanent display at the DIA are considered the best in America.
Kahlo’s life was made for Facebook and Instagram. Her presence is spread wide across the internet, where you can find her complete works, a Frida Kahlo website, a summary of her life and contemporary thoughts and a Washington Monthly profile. Looking for a unique Halloween costume? Then go to amazon.com and check out the 33 different Frida Kahlo costumes. If you’re unsure which to buy you can compare with those featured on Etsy. Finally, double check your final selection on Popsugar, which shows the Halloween Kahlo outfits being created by the Instagram generation.