There are many things that I learned through the Frida & Diego exhibit. It was completely worthwhile, and I am glad to have seen the collection on its only North American stop on its current world tour. Frida is an artist I admire, partly because she surpassed her husband, Diego’s, fame, even if it was after her death. To try and summarize my perception of her before the exhibit, I would have said she is iconic and spent a lot of time painting herself and controlling her own image. She wore beautiful, colorful indigenous textiles and jewelry. She portrays herself with strength.
A few things I didn’t realize were:
- Diego was a contemporary to Matisse and Picasso & ran in their same circles, spending time with them in Europe
- Frida was in school to study medicine originally
- Frida experienced a great deal of physical pain throughout her lifetime: polio, a bus accident, miscarriages, amputation of her foot and part of her leg, spinal issues, gangrene
- It was the bus accident that prompted Frida to pick up painting while recovering
- Frida used her image and self portrayal to her advantage, she had a lot of agency in this way, it was quite deliberate
- Her family members were professional photographers (father & grandfather)
- Diego & Frida spent much of their time apart, were married, divorced, and remarried
More to share later.