Arts & Culture

Frida Kahlo Goes to the Brooklyn Museum

A new exhibition brings the Mexican icon's art, clothing, and jewelry to New York City.
IMAGE JAVIER HINOJOSA, COURTESY OF V&A PUBLISHING / DIEGO RIVERA AND FRIDA KAHLO ARCHIVES, BANCO DE MÉXICO, FIDUCIARY OF THE TRUST OF THE DIEGO RIVERA AND FRIDA KAHLO MUSEUMS.
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In Frida Kahlo’s theater of the self, there’s always more to discover in the intertwined tendrils of her art and life. A multiethnic, multivalent figure who has been adopted as a feminist hero and a muse to pop stars and fashion designers, the Mexican-born painter and her signature unibrow are now found on everything from coffee mugs to Barbie dolls.


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Frida Kahlo at her Mexico City home around 1940.

Yes, Frida mania is a thing, and it has descended upon New York, with a show at the Brooklyn Museum that promises to deliver new insights. “Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving,” which opens February 8, focuses on the “ways in which the artist crafted her own image and identity,” says Catherine Morris, one of the show’s curators. “It’s an opportunity to nuance Frida Kahlo.”


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Frida Kahlo’s self-portrait as a Tehuana (also known as "Diego on My Mind") will be at the Brooklyn Museum exhibition, opening February 8.

Featured alongside important self-portraits the artist made between 1926 and her death (at age 47) in 1954 are numerous drawings and photographs. But what distinguishes this show is the opportunity to see up close Kahlo’s clothing and jewelry—including her famous Tehuana ensembles and strands of stone beads—as well as corsets, makeup items, and other belongings that for decades were locked away in her Mexico City home, now a museum.


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A view of the exhibition "Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving."

The exhibit opens with a self-portrait Kahlo started in 1940, not long after her divorce from Diego Rivera (they remarried within a year); it radiates an almost sacred quality while weaving together various political, nationalistic, and personal strands. “She uses a language that is highly sophisticated and widely interpretive,” Morris says. “There’s room for people to feel empathy, to feel intellectually challenged, to respond in kind. It’s one of the things that draws people to her.”


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A 1939 portrait of Kahlo holding a small sculpture.


This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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