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!

This Nude Painting Of Mexican Icon Emiliano Zapata Has Gone Viral But It’s Actually Not Even New

Culture

This Nude Painting Of Mexican Icon Emiliano Zapata Has Gone Viral But It’s Actually Not Even New

Secretaria de Cultura / Fabian Chairez

La Revolución by Chiapas artist Fabian Cháirez depicts Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata riding a white horse. Zapata has his eyes closed as if he was lost in reverie, he’s totally nude, wearing high heels, and a shimmering pink hat — and the horse has a massive erection. 

The painting isn’t new, it is one of 141 works included in the exhibit Zapata Después de Zapata to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the revolutionary’s death. When the Mexican Secretariat of Culture shared the image on Facebook, many users had a polarizing response. Cháirez believes the negative responses are rooted in sexist and homophobic attitudes. 

Zapata’s grandson says he is taking legal action against the National Institute of Fine Arts and Literature. 

“We are not going to allow that. That’s why they’re going to take legal action”. Zapata´s grandson said in a statement. “We came here to exhibit the nonsense they did… to exhibit a photograph of our general (Emiliano Zapata) in Bellas Artes”

One would think the issue a critic would have with the image is that there might be an implication of bestiality. No, according to Zapata’s grandson, Jorge Zapata who held a press conference in Cuernavaca  says the problem is that Cháirez painted him as “gay.” 

“What could we call him? An unknown painter, who I think wants fame… he portrays general Zapata as, gay. So I believe that as a family, as a people, where we are clearly Zapatistas, we are not going to allow that,” Jorge said according to the Yucatan Times

Does Jorge think being gay means two men love each other or that a man and a horse love each other? Jorge appears to be more repulsed by the thought of his grandfather possibly liking another man, more so than him being attracted to a horse. 

“Now we’ve done what’s right, we are going to sue them, and we´ll have demonstrations and hold press conferences. We are going to sue both the painter and the person in charge of Bellas Artes.” Jorge said at the conference. 

Art is subjective and isn’t always meant to be literally interpreted, Cháirez appears to be trying to evoke a feeling and a response from the viewer about what the image might mean rather than creating something intended to be taken at face value. 

Many people on social media were also offended by the painting.

“I truly think that the image is offensive for the Mexican leader and hero. I’m not at all against homosexuality . . . but Zapata deserves respect. He was a leader who fought for land rights and freedom. I will never accept the denigration of his image in this way,” Jonathan Gómez Rios wrote on Facebook.

However, others defended Cháirez’s painting, commending the artist for being able to stir controversy as it was clearly intended. 

“I love that a simple painting causes so much controversy. People argue and seethe because of a painting, A PAINTING! Well done to the Secretariat of Culture and whoever’s behind this post. Congratulations!” said another user on Facebook.

Cháirez speaks out in defense of his work of art. 

“The feminine [form of Zapata] is what causes contempt . . . We’re in a super sexist society. There are some people who are bothered by bodies that don’t obey the norms. [But] in this case, where’s the offense? Are they offended because he’s feminized?” he told El Universal.

Cháirez says portraits of Zapata usually glorify his masculinity, while his own works intend to do just the opposite. According to the Yucatan Times, the Chiapas painter is part of the Neomexicanism movement and his works typically portray bodies in ways that challenge traditional stereotypes about masculinity and social mores about sexual orientation. 

“His piece, ‘The Revolution’ questions the macho stereotypes that make up the national identity and makes visible the movements of sexual diversity,” the Yucatan Times writes. “The image has caused great offense among those who defend the memory of General Emiliano Zapata the ‘Caudillo del Sur’ and reject the idea of portraying him as a homosexual.”

RIP To The $120,000 Art Basel Banana, Man Eats It To Make A Statement

Things That Matter

RIP To The $120,000 Art Basel Banana, Man Eats It To Make A Statement

Cindy Ord / Getty

You read that correctly: a banana duct-taped to a wall sold for $120,000 to a French art collector at Art Basel in Miami Beach and then a man walked right up to it and ate it. Now, we don’t have a $15 minimum wage and the United States’ poorest people paid more in taxes than its billionaires last year, but no need to worry everything is fine. 

The artwork was entitled “Comedian” by Italian artist Maurizo Cattelan. Cattelan is also responsible for creating an 18-karat gold toilet called “America” that was shown in the Guggenheim’s public restroom in 2016. 

Rest assured, this work of art is not about the banana, it’s about the concept — something you don’t need a material object to understand so why buy it, but OK. 

An artist eats the banana and turns the piece into performance art.

Performance artist David Datuna took the duct-taped banana off the wall and ate it on camera. He called the piece “Hungry Artist.” I don’t know which person we should resent more in this scenario, the person who sold the banana, the person who ate the banana, or the person who bought it? Probably, the person who bought it. 

“It’s not about the piece. It’s an art performance. Maurizio Cattelan, I love him. One artist eats another artist. It’s fun,” Datuna said.

It’s always great when rich people can remind us that everything we need like water and agriculture already belongs to us and is being sold back to us at completely arbitrary prices and there’s nothing we can do about it (just kidding vote for a Democrat, that’s something you can do).  

The gallery truly did not care that someone ate his banana. 

Lucien Terras told the New York Post the artwork was still intact because the Certificate of Authenticity that came with the work of art said owners may replace the banana as needed. Not only do you have to $120,000 for this banana, but you also have to keep replacing it for the rest of your life. 

“He did not destroy the artwork. The banana is the idea,” Terras said. “This has brought a lot of tension and attention to the booth and we’re not into spectacles. But the response has been great. It brings a smile to a lot of people’s faces.”

I am not smiling. 

The piece is from Emmanuel Perrotin’s outer gallery wall art at Art Basel and Perrotin was not pleased that his perishable item immediately perished in someone’s belly. According to the New York Post, when he heard the banana had been eaten Perrotin, who was on his way to the airport turned back in fury. An attendee gave him a banana to cheer him up. These are adults. 

People can’t stop talking about how dumb this whole banana thing which just keeps increasing its power. The banana is our king. 

“That banana has been more photographed than the Mona Lisa,” Terras told the Miami Herald in jest.

There were so many people clamoring to take a photo of an ugly banana with duct tape on at Art Basel that police had to come in to do crowd control. 

“This has been interesting,” said Miami Beach police Capt. Steven Feldman. “The gallery is OK with people taking pictures of the banana. It is a delicate balancing act. We just want to make sure the area is secure.”

According to the Miami Herald for $120,000, Cattelan can buy 631,579 bananas at Trader Joe’s. That’s exactly what I would do if I had that money. I’d just buy more bananas, bring them to Art Basel, sell ’em for $120,000 each, boom – it’s called flipping the package, fam. 

On a more serious note, some folks believe the banana does the entire art community a disservice, while other experts wondered if it was a money-laundering scheme (which is not uncommon in the art world according to the New York Times). 

I think we can all agree that whether the art industry is a joke or not is irrelevant to the fact that the joke is always on poor people.