Good Life Harn Tour By: Chait Singh

When I entered the Harn, one of the exhibitions immediately caught my attention: the Frida Kahlo exhibit. Kahlo is a Mexican artist, feminist, and revolutionary who led a very difficult and tragic life. I personally have loved Frida Kahlo from the moment I learned about her. My friends and I even drew a portrait of her at a street painting festival last year (pictured below)

Me, pictured with my rendition of Frida Kahlo at the Lake Worth Street Painting Festival.

Medium/Technique Used by Artist

Photographs from the Mirror Mirror exhibit, by Lucienne Bloch (top left) and Nickolas Muray (bottom left and right)

The exhibit "Mirror Mirror" includes various portraits of Frida, and many artifacts that add to her cultural significance. I personally believe that photography is a powerful medium that artists utilize to capture moments and stories. There are so many iconic photographs that can almost universally be recognized. This exhibit focuses on capturing glimpses of Frida's life that we may not otherwise have known about.

The top left photograph shows Frida Kahlo eating ice cream with her husband, Diego Rivera, who is smoking a cigar. The two are in Long Island. Though it is known that Frida and Diego had a complex relationship, this photograph illustrates the simple moments that they spent time together. It struck me as an interesting juxtaposition with the rest of Frida's tragic life that is displayed. The other two simply are a portrait and group photo, where viewers get a glimpse at Frida's distinct features: her unibrow, defined jawline, and signature flowers in her hair.

Design of the Museum

On the left is me, pictured with a painting of Frida Kahlo. On the right is various portraits of Frida.

The layout of this exhibit struck me as beautiful and meaningful. It begins with a wall that has the large portrait of Frida pictured above. She is depicted as beautiful, elegant, and though not smiling, her normal weariness does not seem as visible. Turn a corner from that wall and you are immersed in every small part of her life. The design of the exhibit seems to begin by showing you what Frida seemed like initially from the outside. However, once you dig deeper, you understand more about her tragic life.

In addition to the layout of the entire exhibit, I enjoyed the layout of smaller parts of the exhibit. Many of the photographs that were included of Frida were accompanied by Mexican symbols and artifacts. The second photograph above shows this. The inclusion of the cross aids in understanding Mexican culture and the way it influenced Frida and her style. Frida was proud to be Mexican, and to have Aztec roots. Many Aztec artifacts are included as visual aids.

Art and Core Values

A description of El Venado, along with a picture of one of Frida's most famous paintings, The Wounded Deer.

The Wounded Deer hits on many themes and core values that are dear to me. One of them is our human connection with nature. Frida, when this was painted, was hospitalized and had very little mobility. She drew herself as a deer, citing not only nature, but Aztec roots as well. Though she felt pain, she managed to keep her connection with nature, and illustrated that through this painting.

Another value to me is the idea of hope. As stated in the description, Frida was extremely hopeful when she drew this painting. She hoped that she would experience better mobility after her surgeries. The storms painted in the far background seem to illustrate her hope to get past stormy, rough times in her life. Though the surgeries were not successful, she remained hopeful throughout her whole life, painting even while immobilized.

Art and the Good Life

Photograph of Frida smoking, taken by the Mayo Brothers. A description is included.

This struck me as very interesting. Most people only know Frida Kahlo as an artist, but she was so much more: she was a revolutionary, feminist, and self proclaimed communist and anti-imperialist.

This photograph to me, relates to the "Fighting" section of the Good Life. Frida in this photograph is an embodiment of a revolutionary Mexican woman, fighting for what she believes in, even if it's not a common shared belief at the time. It's sad that Frida may not have truly experienced the best life, but in many ways, she did live the Good Life. For her, making art was her way of expressing her ideas of a good life.

Ultimately, I would say I am very glad that I got an in-depth look into this exhibit. Frida Kahlo led a very eventful life that not many know about. Through photography, this beautiful exhibit gives museum attendees an idea of not just Frida the artist, but Frida the woman, revolutionary, anti-imperialist, and feminist as well.

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