January 12, 2012

The Elephant and the Dove - Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo at the AGO

In the autumn of 2012  the Art Gallery of Ontario will exhibit works by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and her on again, off again husband Diego Rivera. Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting will feature works by the two artists, primarily drawn from the Museo Dolores Olmedo in Mexico city. The works to be exhibited will highlight Rivera and Kahlo’s lives, both together and apart, their politics and how their passionate views and activism influenced their work. The exhibition will be at the AGO from Oct. 20, 2012 through Jan. 20, 2013. Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting is presented in collaboration with the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia, which will display the exhibition in February 2013. 
Photo by Carl van Vechten via Wikipedia
 Frida Kahlo is a fascinating woman who should never be dismissed as the lady with the eyebrows who painted only portraits of herself. Her paintings were described by the Surrealist André Breton as “a ribbon around a bomb,” She was called a Surrealist by some, but she resisted the label and claimed she painted her reality, not her dreams. Rivera's and Kahlo's work show their support for the Communist movement, as well as the concept of Mexicanidad, an identification with Mexico’s indigenous roots.

Frida's relationship with the muralist Diego Rivera was a tempestuous one. They married in 1929. They divorced in November 1939 only to remarry in November of 1940. It seemed to be a case of "can't live with him, can't live without him". Early in their relationship they had a double studio/house built in San Angel; separate living quarters joined by a bridge. Rivera, despite his 300 pounds, was catnip for the ladies. Frida had many affairs with both men and women including Leon Trotsky, sculptor Isamu Noguchi and Jaqueline Lamba, the wife of André Breton. Many photos of Diego and Frida can be viewed on the PBS site.

Hayden Herrera's biography of Frida Kahlo is an excellent read. Adapted from Herrera's book was the equally-excellent 2002 biographical film Frida. The movie was directed by Julie Taymor, currently avoiding brickbats for the Spiderman play. The movie is up there on my list of top 20 films and it's worth seeing.

Can't wait for October.


Kat Mortensen said...

300 pounds? That's a whole lot of catnip! I think I can safely say that he would hold any interest for me. Trotsky? Maybe.
That should be a fantastic exhibit.

Diane said...

I can hardly wait!

I like the book looking at the art of Kahlo, Carr and O'Keefe.

The Clever Pup said...

Diane, I wanted to see that show but I couldn't get anyone else in the family to drive to the McMichael. I'm sure I would have loved it. I'm a fan of Carr.