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Diego Rivera Tried To Hide Frida’s Letters To Her Lovers, Here’s A Look Into What Some Of Them Said

You knew her as the revolutionary, the artist, the writer, and even as Mattel’s weirdest attempt to turn a communist into a Barbie doll, but do you know Frida Kahlo’s hit list of sexual conquests is inspiring, to say the least? For decades many have speculated that the artist known for her paintings, was also a lover like no other. Frida may just have proved it was true with her collection of lovers from around the world. Let’s get down to business with who the revolutionary herself fell for, both true and rumored.

1. Diego Rivera

Credit @olgakardasidi / Instagram

Picture teenage Frida, hungry for art and revolution, joining the Mexican Communist Party in 1927. She reads Marx, she looks at the poverty in her country and abroad, and then an older man – an art teacher – notices her. Diego Rivera, almost twice her age, is a fellow Mexican artist and painter. He is also a leftist. A passionate and volatile relationship begins. Just over a year later, they are wed. Abusive, temperamental, and unfaithful, the older man begins a familiar story many young women know. She was too young for him, and eventually outgrew him, but their relationship remains the longest one associated with Frida to this day.

Credit @tl150 / Instagram

Years of cheating, traveling, and affairs dogged the couple. Frida herself became interested in women alongside men. Diego was prone to temper tantrums and young impressionable women who are joining the art scene. The couple divorced in 1939, only to remarry in 1940. A second divorce followed shortly after.

This drama remains Frida’s most well-known romantic relationship, though years worth of other lovers would affect her life, politics, and art.

2. Nickolas Murray

Credit: @m.fridakhalo_ / Instagram

Getting married young wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, and it doesn’t take long for Frida to realize Diego heart (and other parts) have wandered. Frida too decided she had a right to find a little something-something on the side, and in 1931 she met the acclaimed Hungarian photographer Nickolas Murray while he was vacationing in Mexico. Murray had just divorced his first voice and hopes that Frida would agree to leave Diego Rivera and become his next wife. When Frida made it clear she wanted a lover, not a husband, Murray withdrew from their affair, which lasted on and off for ten years. They remained good friends until Frida’s death in 1954.

3. Isamu Noguchi

 Credit: @noguchimuseum / Instagram

As the years with Diego went on, Frida caught wind of one infidelity too far – her husband was having an affair with her younger sister Cristina. Frida and Diego separated, and though they later reconciled, they agreed to live separate lives. It was during this time that Frida met and fell in love with Isamu Noguchi, a Japanese American sculptor traveling through Mexico. Though their affair was brief, it was passionate and the two remained friends until Frida’s death.

4. Leon Trotsky

Credit: @drjorgenunez / Instagram

Frida and Diego remain dedicated communists regardless of their relationship turmoils, and when the Spanish Civil War breaks out in 1936, the two join the Mexican section of the Trotskyite International Communist League. They back Mexicans fighting back against Franco’s forces. Frida and Diego go so far as to help gain Leon Trotsky and his wife asylum in Mexico when they are exiled from the Soviet Union.

Trotsky and Frida grow very close and engage in an affair behind their spouses’ backs. You have to get it to her – how many of us manage to smuggle our faves into our own country for political asylum and then hook up with them? 

5. Dolores del Río

credit: @latinosinfilm / Instagram

Frida has been tied to Dolores del Río, though rumor and hearsay are all we have left of this chapter in history. The two were seen together and were friends, with Frida eventually painting for del Río on commission. The intimate relationship may have been more or less than we suspect, but is it hard to tell due to the stigma tied to homosexuality in Hollywood, then and now. Del Río was the first major crossover Mexican actress, making waves in American media as a beautiful starlet.

6. Chavela Vargas

Credit: @virginia.perez.carmona / Instagram

Frida’s time with Murray with dotted with other important affairs, including one with Chavela Vargas. Vargas with known for singing ranchera music while dressed as a man, often singing in a low raspy voice. She was not shy about her sexuality at the time, and it was generally known she was having relationships with women.  Though Vargas did not officially come out as a lesbian until she was 81, her autobiography also dedicated an entire chapter to an affair with Frida.

Credit @_chavelavargas / Instagram

In a letter reported to be written by Frida Kahlo to poet Carlos Pellicer, she writes of meeting Vargas:

Today I met Chavala Vargas. An extraordinary woman, a lesbian, and what’s more, I desire her. I do not know if she felt what I did. But I believe she is a woman who is liberal enough that if she asked me, I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to undress in front of her…Was she a gift sent to me from heaven?

Maybe, Frida, maybe. Vargas would go on to describe as “my gran amor” for the rest of her life.

7. Georgia O’Keeffe

Credit: @repaint.history / Instagram

Though letters between Frida and Georgia O’Keeffe are very intimate, the ones Frida candidly wrote about O’Keeffe hide much more tantalizing secrets that suggest a romantic relationship between the two. One such piece of evidence is a letter Frida wrote on O’Keeffe that stated:

O’Keeffe was in the hospital for three months, she went to Bermuda for a rest. She didn’t make love to me at that time, I think on account of her weakness. Too bad.

Credit @_chavelavargas / Instagram

Despite O’Keeffe’s famously sexual paintings, androgynous looks, and independent manner, her close friend and neighbor Maria Chabot and her former housekeeper Jerrie Newsom flatly refute that O’Keeffe ever had any sexual relationships with women.

So did Frida just have an awful crush or a bright hot affair with a love that dare not speak its name?

8. Josephine Baker

Credit: @queerasfact / Tumblr

While in Paris in 1939, Frida had the chance to meet entertainment icon Josephine Baker. Rumors have circulated across the internet in our modern day and age that the two were lovers, but no citation in either woman’s historical accounts corroborates this dreamy, albeit poorly sourced, rumor. At best, we have historical accounts of both women being romantically and sexually interested in women in general, but nothing in specific linking them to each other.

All we have is this tantalizing photo and some fan fiction added for drama in the Frida biopic starring Salma Hayek.

9. Herself, in drag

Credit: @coloreader / Instagram

Frida was known to dress dapperly as a man on occasion, and there are even photographs of her in full suit with family members. The untold number of lovers and crushes she could have piled up while posing in a suit and unrecognizable is far beyond what we might know.

Credit @fridakahlo / Instagram

In the end, we just have a lot of burning questions after reading up on our favorite gay Latin American revolutionary communist artist. Was she all over that Georgia O’Keeffe’s flower? Did Josephine Baker dance with her secretly cheek-to-cheek in the weak Paris moonlight? Did Trotsky get his butt handed to him by his wife when she learned about revolutionary studies he was sharing with Frida in bed?

The world may never know.

But that’s never stopped us from speculating, and hey – we’re still allowed to dream! Let us know if there’s someone else you suspect might be on this list.

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If You Call Yourself A Frida Kahlo Fan Then You Should Be Following These Five Artists

Culture

If You Call Yourself A Frida Kahlo Fan Then You Should Be Following These Five Artists

Bettman Archives / Getty Images

So many of us have been moved the art of the late Frida Kahlo. Even in death she’s gone on to inspire entire generations with her Surrealist self-portraits, lush depictions of plant and animal life, and magical realist tableaux. Not to mention her incredible life story.

She also inspired future generations of artists, many of whom are alive today creating beautiful works of art. These are just a few of the artists who have similar techniques, subjects, and styles to Frida Kahlo that you’ll definitely love if you’re a fan of Frida Kahlo.

Maria Fragoso – Mexico City

Credit: Teach Me Sweet Things / Theirry Goldberg Gallery

Influenced by the style and narratives of Mexican surrealists and muralists, Maria Fragoso creates work that celebrates her Mexican culture, while also addressing notions of gender expression and queer identity. Her brightly colored canvases offer voyeuristic glimpses into intimate moments, with subjects engaging in acts that seem at once seductive and mischievous—often while gazing directly out at the viewer.

Recently featured in Forbes’s “30 Under 30” in the “Art and Style” category, the 25-year-old artist is quickly rising to prominence. Born and raised in Mexico City, Fragoso moved to Baltimore in 2015 to pursue her BFA at the Maryland Institute College of Art. While in school, Fragoso was the recipient of the Ellen Battell Stoeckel Fellowship at the Yale Norfolk School of Art. Since graduating, she has completed residencies at Palazzo Monti and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.

Nadia Waheed – Austin, Texas

Credit: Message from Janus / Mindy Solomon Gallery

Born in Saudi Arabia to Pakistani parents, Austin, Texas–based artist Nadia Waheed explores notions of relocation, displacement, and vulnerability in her work. Her life-size figurative paintings are both allegorical and autobiographical—the female figures represent her own lived experiences, as well as the multifaceted identities of all women.

Rodeo Tapaya – Philippines

Credit: Nowhere Man / A3 Art Agency

Rodel Tapaya paints dreamlike, narrative works based on myths and folklore from his native Philippines. Drawing parallels between age-old fables and current events, Tapaya reimagines mythical tales by incorporating fragments of the present. “In some way, I realize that old stories are not just metaphors. I can find connections with contemporary time,” Tapaya said in a 2017 interview with the National Gallery of Australia. “It’s like the myths are poetic narrations of the present.”

While the content of Tapaya’s work is inspired by Filipino culture, his style and literary-based practice is heavily influenced by Mexican muralists and Surrealist painters such as José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, and, of course, Frida Kahlo. Often working at a large scale, Tapaya has been commissioned to create several site-specific murals, including one for Art Fair Philippines in February 2020.

Leonor Fini – Buenos Aires

Credit: Les Aveugles / Weinstein Gallery

Long overlooked in favor of male Surrealists, Leonor Fini, a contemporary of Kahlo, was a pioneering 20th-century force. Known for having lived boldly, Fini is recognized for her unconventional lifestyle, theatrical personality, and avant-garde fashion sense. Born in Buenos Aires in 1907, Fini was raised by her mother in Trieste, Italy. She taught herself to paint and first exhibited her work at the age of 17.

Fini had one of her first solo exhibitions at age 25 with a Parisian gallery directed by Christian Dior. Her work was then included in the groundbreaking exhibition “Fantastic Art, Dada and Surrealism” at MoMA in 1936, while at the same time she had her first New York exhibition with Julien Levy Gallery. Today, Fini’s work is represented in many major public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Tate Modern in London, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice.

Ramon Alejandro – Miami

Credit: Eternal Life / Latino Art Core

José Ramón Díaz Alejandro, better known as Ramon Alejandro, paints idyllic still lifes of tropical fruits set in ethereal landscapes. The surrealistic compositions have a similar spirit to Kahlo’s less iconic but equally masterful still-life works

Coming from a long lineage of artists, Alejandro grew up with the artworks of his great-grandfather, grandfather, and uncle adorning the walls of his childhood home. After growing up in Havana, Alejandro was sent to live in Argentina in 1960 amidst political turmoil in Cuba, and has continued to live in exile since then.

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Yes, Someone Created An Actual Honest To God 108-Foot Vulva Statue In Brazil

Fierce

Yes, Someone Created An Actual Honest To God 108-Foot Vulva Statue In Brazil

BUDA MENDES / GETTY IMAGES

There’s no denying the fact that the female form, and it’s bits, in particular, have inspired artwork the world over. Tarsila do Amaral was inspired by it. Frida Kahlo and artists like Zilia Sánchez and Marta Minujín too. Women’s bodies are inspired and so they inspire. Still, a recent unveiling of vulva artwork has become so controversial and made people so besides themselves that it seems many have forgotten these truths about our bodies.

Over the weekend, Brazilian visual artist Juliana Notari revealed her latest sculptureDiva, on a hillside at Usina del Arte. The art park is located in the Brazilian state of Pernambuco and is described by Notari as “a massive vulva / wound excavation.”

The massive sculpture created on the hillside located in northeastern Brazil features a bright pink vulva and has fueled what is being described as a cultural war.

Notari created Diva, a colorful 108-foot concrete and resin sculpture on the site of a former sugar mill. The mill was converted into an open-air museum in Pernambuco state. Last week, when Notari debuted the installation she revealed it was meant to depict both a vulva and a wound while questioning the relationship between nature and culture in a “phallocentric and anthropocentric society.”

“These issues have become increasingly urgent today,” Notari wrote in a post shared to her Facebook page which was shared alongside a series of photos of the sculpture. According to NBC, it took a team of 20 artisans 11 months to build the entire concept.

No surprise, the piece of art sparked a wave of controversy on social media, with critics and supports debating its message and significance.

Over 25,000 users have commented on Notari’s Facebook post so far including leftists and conservatives. On the far-right, supporters of President Jair Bolsonaro have also been vocal about their views of the product.

“With all due respect, I did not like it. Imagine me walking with my young daughters in this park and them asking … Daddy, what is this? What will I answer?” one user wrote in the Facebook section of the post.

“With all due respect, you can teach your daughters not to be ashamed of their own genitals,” a woman replied.

Olavo de Carvalho, an advisor to Bolsonaro, vulgarly criticized the piece on Twitter.

Notari, whose previous work has been displayed at various galleries explained on her Facebook page that she created the piece to comment on gender issues in general.

“In Diva, I use art to dialogue with…gender issues from a female perspective combined with a cosmopocentric and anthropocentric western society,” Notari shared on her post to Facebook. “Currently these issues have become increasingly urgent. After all, it is by changing perspective of our relationship between humans and nonhuman, that will allow us to live longer on that planet and in a less unequal and catastrophic society.”

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