High acquires new photographs and announces lineup of special events tied to exhibition.
Atlanta’s High Museum of Art is the sole U.S. venue for “Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics, and Painting,” a major exhibition of work by Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera on view Feb. 14 through May 12, 2013.
The exhibition – which includes new museum acquisitions, custom-designed reading rooms, bilingual displays and several related special events – features some of the best examples of Kahlo and Rivera’s art with more than 120 works, including iconic paintings from and photographs of both artists. The exhibition kicks off with the special opening event “Party with Passion!” on Valentine’s Day.
Few artists have captured the public’s imagination with the force of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo (1907 – 1954) and her husband, the Mexican painter and muralist Diego Rivera (1886 – 1957). The myths that surrounded them in their lifetimes arose not only from their significant bodies of work, but also from their active participation in the historical happenings of their time. Their work speaks of a fierce loyalty to and pride in Mexico, the ideals of the 1910 Mexican Revolution, and their commitment to the conditions of the common man.
“Frida & Diego” marks the first time important works by these two influential Mexican artists will be shown in the Southeast U.S. “Frida & Diego” is also the first completely bilingual exhibition to be presented by the High, with Spanish and English versions of wall labels and audio tours, as well as bilingual tour guides on Sundays throughout the show. A full-color catalog accompanies the exhibition.
CONTEMPORARY MEXICAN DESIGN; NEW ACQUISITIONS
The exhibition pairs together works by Kahlo and Rivera chronologically and according to themes, including maternity, Mexican identity and portraiture. While the exhibition positions the artists’ work in the political and artistic contexts of their time, “Frida & Diego” also examines the ways their work continues to influence Mexican artists, with two Frida- and Diego-inspired reading rooms designed by award-winning contemporary Mexican designers: Hector Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena. One reading room design features a bold red version of Frida’s iconic bed, while the other features a whimsical yellow installation inspired by the game of musical chairs.
In addition to these two contemporary reading room installations, which celebrate the continued influence of Kahlo and Rivera, the High also acquired two photographs of the artists to allow a trace of the show to remain with the museum’s permanent collection. One of the acquisitions, Martin Munkacsi’s “Diego and Frida,” is an intimate and tightly cropped portrait of the couple. Munkacsi’s photograph will be the first image visitors see as they enter the exhibition. A modern version of the second acquisition, “Frida Looking into Mirror (The Two Fridas),” by Lola Alvarez Bravo also appears in the exhibition.
“The exhibition ‘Frida & Diego’ is the most comprehensive exhibition of their work to date, enabling visitors to explore and celebrate the richness of Latin American culture and art,” said Michael E. Shapiro, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green Director of the High Museum of Art.
The High celebrates the passion of “Frida & Diego” at the opening night “Party with Passion!” on Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14) from 6 to 10 p.m. The event features live Mexican music, salsa dancing, a couples’ photo booth and a Frida impersonator. Tickets are $25 per person, $40 per couple or $10 for members. For tickets visit High.org or call 404-733-5000.
Six special lectures are planned for “Frida & Diego” including “Viva la Vida: The Art of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera” on Feb. 23; “Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: Between Tradition and the Avant-Garde” on March 14; “Dialogos: Contemporary Mexican Design” on March 21; “Collecting Latin American Art Now” on March 28; and “Inside the Studio of Diego Rivera” on April 18. Tickets are free, but advance registration is required. Visit the High.org calendar page or call 404-733-5000 to register.
The High’s teen-oriented ArTLab series features “Frida & Diego” sessions including “Paint & Needle” on Feb. 16; “Corset Casts” on Feb. 23; “Diego Mural” on March 2; “Fashions of Frida” April 9-12; and “DJ School” April 9-12. Visit the High’s Teen Programs Page for registration prices and details.
“EXTRAORDINARY VISIONS” FILM SERIES
In conjunction with “Frida & Diego” the High will present several films with connections to the artists and/or Mexico through the series “Extraordinary Cinematic Visions: Mexico Past and Present through the Eyes of Gabriel Figueroa and Carlos Reygadas.” The films and screening dates are:
- “Un retrato de Diego” (“A Portrait of Diego: The Revolutionary Gaze”), Feb. 23 at 8 p.m.
- “Los olvidados” (“The Forgotten Ones, or The Young and the Damned”), March 2 at 8 p.m.
- “El ángel exterinador” (“The Exterminating Angel”), March 9 at 8 p.m.
- “María Candelaria”, March 16 at 8 p.m.
- “Enamorada”, March 23 at 8 p.m.
- “Stellet licht” (“Silent Light”), April 6 at 8 p.m.
- “Japón” (“Japan”), April 13 at 8 p.m.
- “Revolución” (“Revolution”), April 20 at 8 p.m.
- “Post Tenebras Lux” including Q&A with director Carlos Reygadas, April 27 at 8 p.m.
The museum also presents “¡Qué viva México!” (1931) at noon and “Frida” (2002, winner of two Academy Awards) at 2 p.m. every Saturday Feb. 16 to May 11 (admission included with “Frida & Diego” ticket). Visit the film page at High.org for tickets and additional details.
ADDITIONAL EXHIBTION DETAILS
“Most scholarship about Frida and Diego focuses on their tumultuous relationship as a couple rather than their shared ideas and ideals,” said Elliott King, guest curator of the exhibition. “The exhibition ‘Frida & Diego’ instead focuses on how the artists influenced each other while learning from and sharing in each other’s successes and failures. The exhibition considers both artists in a shared cultural and political context.”
Key works by Kahlo in the exhibition include:
- The Bus, 1929
- Hospital Henry Ford (Henry Ford Hospital), 1932
- My Dress Hangs Here, 1933
- My Nurse and I, 1937
- Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair, 1940
- Autorretrato con Monos (Self-Portrait with Monkeys), 1943
- Diego on my Mind, 1943
- La Columna Rota (The Broken Column), 1944
- El Abrazo de Amor de el Universo, La Tierra (México), Diego, yo y el Señor Xólotl (The Love Embrace of the Universe, the Earth (Mexico), Diego, Me and Señor Xólotl), 1949
Key works by Rivera in the exhibition include:
- El Joven de la Estilografica (Portrait of Best Maugard), 1914
- No. 9, Nature Morte Espagnole, 1915
- Flower Day, 1925
- Autorretrato (Self-Portrait), 1930
- La Canoa Enflorada (The Flowered Canoe), 1931
- Flower Festival: Feast of Santa Anita, 1931
- Vendedora de Alcatraces (Calla Lily Vendor), 1943
- Portrait of Natasha Gelman, 1943
“Frida and Diego” is the result of collaboration between the High and the Art Gallery of Ontario with works primarily drawn from the collection of Mexico’s Museo Dolores Olmedo, the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of Mexican Art, and the Galería Arvil.
The Museo Dolores Olmedo houses the world’s largest collection of works by Kahlo. The museum’s collection also features numerous works by Rivera that helped establish the Mexican School of Painting, as well as his portraits, both of which are represented in “Frida & Diego.” The exhibition also features works from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of Mexican Art, which comprises the largest private holding of 20th-century Mexican art, spanning works from the 1910s to the 1990s. Friends of Rivera and Kahlo, the Gelmans amassed a significant number of their works, including Kahlo’s inventive self-portraits and Rivera’s portrait of Natasha Gelman from 1943.