We have some really, really good news today: a Frida Kahlo exhibit is coming to the Brooklyn Museum. Whoa, this is going to be simply amazing. The exhibit, Appearances Can Be Deceiving, will open on February 8th, 2019 and besides featuring her visual art, the show will also include artifacts like clothing, jewelry, and other personal items. That is a big deal because this is the first time Kahlo’s personal items will be on view in an art exhibit in the United States.
According to the press release via Gothamist:
After Kahlo’s death in 1954 [when she was just 47 years old], her husband, muralist Diego Rivera, instructed that their personal belongings be locked away at the Blue House, not to be touched until 15 years after Rivera’s death. In 2004, these items were unearthed and inventoried. Making their U.S. debut are more than one hundred of Kahlo’s personal artifacts ranging from noteworthy examples of her iconic Tehuana clothing, contemporary and Mesoamerican jewelry, and some of the many hand-painted corsets and prosthetics used by the artist during her lifetime. Shedding new light on one of the most popular artists of the twentieth century, these objects illustrate how Kahlo crafted her appearance, and shaped her personal and public identity to reflect her cultural heritage and political beliefs while also addressing and incorporating her physical disabilities.
Kahlo’s choice of clothing, though a purposeful statement of her politics, must also be understood in relationship to her well-documented disabilities. At eighteen, after recovering from a childhood case of polio that left one of her legs permanently weakened, Kahlo was in a horrific bus accident that left her with lifelong injuries, including a severely broken spine. Enduring more than thirty operations during her lifetime, Kahlo convalesced at the Blue House and in hospitals on and off for decades.
Plus, there’s a little bit of Frida Kahlo and New York in this upcoming show. The exhibit will highlight some glimmers of Kahlo’s time in the city. As reported in Gothamist:
In 1934, the two had been in town when Rivera was commissioned to paint a mural at Rockefeller Center, but was fired from the project when he included (and refused to remove) an image of Vladimir Lenin (Kahlo and Rivera were active members of the Communist party). A few years later, in 1938, Kahlo was here again for her first and last NYC exhibit (and her first solo show), at the Julien Levy Gallery.
The exhibit will run through May 12, 2019. We can’t wait to check out one of the world’s most introspective, imaginative, and mysterious artists.
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