Culture

There’s A Frida Kahlo Exhibit That Features Rare Family Photos And It Made Me So Emotional

Frida Kahlo died 63 years ago, yet her presence is alive more than ever.

Frida Kahlo in the Blue House, Anonymous, 1930 ©Frida Kahlo Museum
CREDIT: Frida Kahlo in the Blue House, Anonymous, 1930 ©Frida Kahlo Museum

Since her death, there have been countless exhibits, documentaries, biographies and feature films all in her name. However, her persona is still so inexplicable, which is why we continue to seek her out. It is her persistent and mysterious entity that brought me to Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, Calif., to experience “Frida Kahlo ‐ Her Photos.” This exhibition is unlike any that I’ve ever seen. It does not feature her artwork but rather 240 original photographs that belong to Frida and her family.

The “Frida Kahlo – Her Photos” exhibit in Santa Ana, Calif., is unlike any that I’ve ever seen. It features 240 original photographs that belong to Frida and her family.

“Throughout her life, Frida meticulously collected thousands of photographs of loved ones as well as scenes of Mexican culture, politics, art, history, and nature,” Bowers Museum states. “After her death, the collection was locked away by a grieving Diego Rivera in Frida’s Mexico City family home, Casa Azul.”

This exhibit is incredibly rare because the images have been locked up for 50 years.

But why did I start crying as soon I entered the museum – before even seeing a single photograph?

#bowersmuseum #fridakahlo #streetphotography #fineartphotography #lofi

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Bowers’ beautiful Spanish architecture is breathtaking, but Frida’s presence on the grounds is palpable.

Frida’s image can be seen on posters and billboards throughout the streets of Santa Ana and Anaheim. It really gave the city a whole new cultural take. Given Frida’s Mexican roots and the large Latino population in the area, the visual of her face really put historical context to her influence.

Once inside the museum, and upon entering the exhibit, it’s as if Frida’s spirit guided me inside her sacred world.

If you click on #BowersMuseum on Instagram, you will see the many people that visited just to see this Frida show.

The show begins with a rare look at the history of her family.

"Frida Kahlo - Her Photos"
CREDIT: “Frida Kahlo – Her Photos”

Guests can see several images of her father, Guillermo Kahlo, and her mother Matilde Calderón y González, and her extended family. I had no idea how affluent her family was. Even more incredible was the fact that Frida’s mother was as eccentric as she was.

We also see beautiful images of Frida as a little girl.

Frida at the age of 5, Anonymous, 1912 ©Frida Kahlo Museum
CREDIT: Frida at the age of 5, Anonymous, 1912 ©Frida Kahlo Museum

This part really got me choked up. Here we have young Frida, a future revolutionary in the making and a child that would grow up to inspire so many. The show is divided into six sections and follows her life in a chronological order.

Aside from famous images we’ve seen of Frida, the show has some really amazing shots of the artist that most haven’t seen before.

Frida Kahlo, by Guillermo Kahlo, 1926 ©Frida Kahlo Museum
CREDIT: Frida Kahlo, by Guillermo Kahlo, 1926 ©Frida Kahlo Museum

It’s quite stunning to witness Frida developing as a young girl into adulthood through these images. You can literally see how Mexico and her family influenced her style and early work.

One of the most touching moments in the show is this picture of Diego with Frida’s kiss marks.

Diego Rivera (in his study at San Ángel), Anonymous, ca. 1940 ©Frida Kahlo Museum
CREDIT: Diego Rivera (in his study at San Ángel), Anonymous, ca. 1940 ©Frida Kahlo Museum

While most fans know a lot about the relationship between Diego and Frida, here we can see her true devotion of the man that influenced her tremendously.

On the wall above some these photographs of Diego reads a quote by Frida:

“I have suffered two serious accidents in my life, one in which a streetcar ran over me….the other accident is Diego.”

Of this love, a historian, who was featured in a short film in the exhibition said, that her love for Diego was more than intense and desperate. It was a fixation because he introduced her to art, culture, notoriety, desire, and, of course, love.

The images of Frida after her accident are especially heartfelt because fans can fully grasp her excruciating pain and unwavering spirit.

Frida in the New York hospital, by Nickolas Muray, 1946 ©Frida Kahlo Museum
CREDIT: Frida in the New York hospital, by Nickolas Muray, 1946 ©Frida Kahlo Museum

I found the images of her incapacitated state to be moving and made me feel more appreciative of the art she created during this time.

One of the reasons I believe people, especially women, adore Frida so much is because she owned up to all of her realities and never made excuses for who she was. Here was a woman that painted her pain, her fears, her loves, and herself regardless of her insecurities or what anyone else thought.

Naturally, even after I exited the exhibit, I still couldn’t get enough of Frida’s spirt. So I went crazy at the gift shop and stocked up on Frida goods.

Araceli Cruz
CREDIT: Araceli Cruz

I highly recommend buying “Frida Kahlo: Her Photos,” because it contains images from this show and many more.

This exhibit will be on view at the Bowers Museum, 2002 North Main Street, Santa Ana, CA, through June 25, 2017.

READ: See What People On The Internet Are Fighting About Over This Latina Inspired Snapchat Filter

How has Frida influenced you? Share this story and comment in the section below!

25 Years After Her Death, A San Antonio Art Museum Is Displaying Some Never-Before-Seen Photos Of Selena

Entertainment

25 Years After Her Death, A San Antonio Art Museum Is Displaying Some Never-Before-Seen Photos Of Selena

mcnayart / Instagram

If you’ve already given up on 2020, you’re wrong. This year will mark 25 years since beloved Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla was murdered by Yolanda Saldivar. Of course, knowing the singer would have turned 49 years old this year is horribly tragic. However, the legal magic of ’25’ means that copyright law from her last year of life is about to expire. For the first time, some of the last photos taken of Selena are on public display at a San Antonio art museum. Photographer John Dyer had the privilege of photographing Selena for her cover shoot for Más Magazine in 1992 and again for Texas Monthly in 1995. Dyer has allowed for both sets of photographs to be put on display, and the contrast in her mood is striking. 

The second set of photographs was taken just months before her murder. 

Book your flights to Texas, and buy your tickets, mi gente!

CREDIT: @MCNAYART / INSTAGRAM

There isn’t a look or photograph of Selena that a child hasn’t dressed up as for Halloween, that a Guarcado plushie hasn’t donned, or that the public hasn’t revered. From Selena’s purple jumpsuit to her fire red lipstick, everything the artist has done has become part of the Mexican-American zeitgeist. And yet… Selena is still giving us more to take in. The signature piece of the exhibit features the 23-year-old star wearing a sequined bustier and high waisted black pants, black patent leather heels firmly planted on a black and white tile checkered floor with a red curtain in the backdrop. 

The photo is so iconic that the museum has reconstructed a look-a-like set for visitors to take their own Selena-inspired photos.

CREDIT: @MCNAYART / INSTAGRAM

The exhibit, named in both English and Spanish “Selena Forever/Siempre Selena,” is on view at the McNay Art Museum, San Antonio’s first modern art museum. “The exhibition pays tribute to ’90s icon, singer, designer, and Texas legend—Selena Quintanilla-Pérez—with a series of five photographs by award-winning San Antonio photographer John Dyer. Selena was the subject of Dyer’s photo assignments for the cover of Más Magazine in 1992 and again for Texas Monthly in 1995, just months before she was tragically killed at age 23,” the museum states.

The photographer noticed how much more muted Selena was in the shoot months before her death compared to three years prior.

CREDIT: @MCNAYART / INSTAGRAM

In an interview with Heidi Vaughan Fine Art, Dyer recalls how “she drove up by herself in her little red hatchback and parked in front of my studio” the first time they met in 1992, as Selena’s career was beginning to take off. “She jumped out of her car with a big smile,” and brought in her hand-made, self-designed performance costumes. The checkered floor print was taken during that first shoot. He recalls that “Selena’s quick smile, infectious laugh, and unending energy made her a pleasure to work with. This was in 1992.”

By early 1995, Selena was at the peak of her international fame when Texas Monthly hired Dyer to do another photoshoot. “She had just finished two exhausting days of shooting TV commercials for a corporate sponsor. She was tired. I had brought a beautiful hand-made jacket for her to wear. I posed her in the alcove on the mezzanine of the theater where the light is particularly nice. She was subdued and pensive. A far cry from the ebullient, excited young singer I’d photographed 3 years earlier. Later I thought her mood might have been an eerie harbinger of what was to come,” Dyer concluded. We may never know what was going on in the emotional world of Selena on that day — if tensions were rising with Saldivar, or if she was simply an exhausted superstar.

Between the time of the shoot and the magazine cover release, Selena was murdered.

CREDIT: @MCNAYART / INSTAGRAM

The magazine decided to use “one of the more somber shots” Dyer captured for the magazine cover which ended up becoming a story that chronicled her death. “It’s a cover I would rather not have had,” Dyer recalled. Tejanos and Selena superfans alike, Selena is waiting for you.

The “Selena Forever/Selena Siempre” exhibit is on display at San Antonio’s The McNay Modern Art Museum for the price of general admission ($20). The exhibit dates are Jan. 15, 2020, to July 5, 2020. Selena Forever/Siempre Selena is organized by the McNay Art Museum, curated by Kate Carey, Head of Education.

Pro tip: The museum is open for free on Thursdays from 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.

READ: The Comments in This Photo That Chris Perez Shared of Selena Proves That Her Fandom is Truly Timeless

Salma Hayek Said The Monkey In ‘Frida’ Attacked Her And Left Her Severely Injured

Entertainment

Salma Hayek Said The Monkey In ‘Frida’ Attacked Her And Left Her Severely Injured

Vogue / YouTube

We adore Salma Hayek. We love her so much. We wish a million Salma Hayek’s were working in Hollywood, representing the Latino community. Just imagine what that would look like! Talented, smart, opinionated, hilarious, feisty, and beautiful (inside and out) Latinas working in film and TV, being seen on the red carpet and showing the world what they are made of. It would be something for sure. How did we ever survive without her? That’s the real question. 

In a brief 11-minute video, Salma Hayek discussed her fashion choices from the past, but through that also shared some remarkable stories since she first launched her career in Hollywood back in 1996.

Hayek, who is now a Hollywood veteran and also starring in the new film “Like A Boss,” opened up a book of fashion from her past. The video, presented by Vogue, showed the actress from the moment she stepped on the scene in Robert Rodriguez’s “Desperado.” There was no way anyone could deny Hayek’s beauty, which meant she made a splash on the red carpet. 

What is so fascinating about hearing Hayek speak about her fashion choices is that she was very determined to express what she wanted and not follow the advice of others, even if she wasn’t being taken seriously just yet. That, of course, changed quickly because Hayek wasn’t your average Hollywood beauty. Hayek had a lot to say and a lot to show whether you liked it or not. 

One of the most shocking (and entertaining) parts of the video is when Hayek explains a monkey that was in the Frida movie attacked her viciously. 

Credit: Vogue / YouTube

Hayek recalled the incident while looking at a picture of her first Vogue photoshoot in 2002. Hayek’s portrait was emulating her Frida role and was pictured alongside a monkey that was in the film. It’s widely known that Frida Kahlo had a pet monkey, which she captured in paintings often. 

“I was very proud to be part of Vogue for the first time in my life,” Hayek said. “This monkey, who was named Tyson, actually attacked me during the filming of Frida, and I was really severely injured.” 

Hayek doesn’t explain how she was injured or what the monkey did precisely, but it could have attacked her precious face.

Credit: fridakahlo / Instagram

“But I was brave enough to let him come back and work again in the movie, and then I still did a photoshoot with him for Vogue afterward.” Hayek said jokingly, “I was really hoping he wouldn’t go for my face.”

The monkey in the photoshoot looks pretty shocked as well. He probably couldn’t believe that he was still able to work and not just sent back to the zoo. 

Credit: Vogue / YouTube

Some other gems from the video included Hayek going on and on about how she set fashion trends. For example, she was the original Ariana Grande. 

Hayek attended the MTV Movie Awards in 1996 and was nominated for Best Kiss. Hayek discussed her late ’90s fashion sense, which included a dark lipstick and tight black dress, but the real highlight for her was the ponytail. 

“I really like the hair,” Hayek said. “I was channeling Ariana Grande before Ariana Grande was born.” Just for reference, Ariana Grande was around 3-years-old at the time of Hayek’s high ponytail. 

Hayek also launched the tiara headdress look, which was previously intended for royalty or pageant queens only.

Credit: Vogue / YouTube

The actress said back in the early ’90s when she was a relative nobody, she wanted to spruce up her look by wearing a tiara. Hayek noted that in the beginning stages of her career, no one wanted to dress a Mexican who probably wouldn’t last in Hollywood. So, to make a grander red carpet entrance, Hayek paired up her dress with a tiara even though her entire team told her not to. Hayek said she was proud of herself for sticking with her gut and taking a fashion risk. 

She said soon after she wore the tiara, Hollywood actresses started wearing crowns too. And she never got credit for being the first to do it. Hayek added that decorating one’s head is just as crucial as wearing jewelry and makeup. She said wearing a headdress became a custom of hers and was probably inspired by Frida’s famous crown of flowers. She said she aims to adorn her head as much as possible. 

Salma, we speak for the entire world when we say, you can wear whatever you want for the rest of your life. We will always love you. 

READ: Salma Hayek’s 29 Boldest Looks