Hudson River Museum Presents Bilingual Exhibitions that Celebrate Culture, Style, and Persona of Frida Kahlo
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Yonkers, NY, January 14—Hudson River Museum is proud to present two companion exhibitions—The World of Frida and Frida Kahlo in Context—that celebrate the culture, style, and persona of visionary Mexican painter Frida Kahlo (1907–1954), who continues to inspire with her story of love, loss, and incredible bravery. The exhibitions will be presented in both English and Spanish and will be on view from February 4–May 22, 2022.
The World of Frida / El Mundo de Frida—Featuring works of art by more than seventy five national and international artists practicing in a variety of media, the exhibition includes Frida Kahlo as subject as well as pieces inspired by her life and art, her beautiful garden, Mexican culture and fashion, vibrant colors, and surrealism. In the companion exhibition, Frida Kahlo in Context / Frida Kahlo en contexto, iconic photographs and artworks explore Kahlo as a multidimensional Latinx artist, including a key painting by Diego Rivera on loan from Art Bridges. The works are juxtaposed with vibrant costumes of Oaxaca from the Ballet Folklorico Mexicano de Nueva York.
Collectively, the exhibitions explore overlapping themes that enhance our understanding of Frida Kahlo’s life and art as well as her enduring hold on the public’s imagination.
- Frida Kahlo as subject or source of inspiration.
- Kahlo’s pride in Mexican culture, seen in her home surroundings and the fashions she wore.
- Relationships, including Kahlo’s marriage to painter Diego Rivera and strong ties to photographer Nickolas Muray.
- Kahlo’s feminism and femininity, through her own eyes and the lens of others.
- Kahlo’s perseverance and pursuit of wellness in the face of emotional and physical hardships.
- Themes of nature including Kahlo’s beautiful garden and her love of animals.
THE WORLD OF FRIDA
The diverse group of more than seventy-five artists reflects today’s global celebration of Frida Kahlo as an iconic, renegade artist and outspoken feminist. Beyond her powerful and personal paintings, people admire how she persevered throughout her life against devastating odds. Stricken with polio as a child, and left permanently injured by a bus accident at age eighteen, Kahlo was subjected to an enormous amount of pain and turmoil. While recovering from multiple serious injuries that confined her to bed, she returned to her childhood hobby of painting—and found an emotional outlet.
The featured artists have reinterpreted many aspects of Kahlo’s life, and this installation organizes the rich array of artworks into several sections. Groupings include artwork in homage to Kahlo’s self-portraits and other paintings, as well as artwork inspired by iconic photographs of her by Nickolas Muray. Other groupings highlight details of her life, such as her love affair and tumultuous marriage with the Mexican muralist, Diego Rivera, her painful physical struggles, and her feminism, which was ahead of her time.
There are also sections devoted to artists responding to Kahlo’s love of flowers, plants, and animals. The exhibition concludes with memorials to Kahlo created in textile and mixed media. In myriad ways throughout the exhibition, artists have channeled her audaciously charming and carefully crafted persona. Kahlo passionately embraced indigenous Mexican traditions and adorned herself with ornate jewelry, flowers, and bright colors—often dressing in folk attire, or occasionally in drag.
Carrie Lederer, who curated the exhibition for the Bedford Gallery, states that, “Frida Kahlo summoned a stalwart and heroic strength to push forward through her life, which is why I believe she continues to resonate today. She has become a beacon for those who have also struggled, and her alluring biographical artwork not only serves as artistic inspiration but as a visual interpretation of strength and bravery.”
In contrast to Kahlo’s current fame, she remained largely unrecognized until the late 1970s when art historians and political activists rediscovered her work. Since then, she has became an icon to many—including the Chicano, feminist, and LGBTQ movements. The World of Frida is a remarkable tribute to an artist who continues to influence millions by the simple fact that she always remained true to herself.
“It is an honor to pay tribute to such an iconic artist at the Hudson River Museum,” said Laura Vookles, Chair of the HRM’s Curatorial Department. “We are thrilled to highlight a diverse group of artists who pull inspiration from all aspects of Frida Kahlo’s life—her triumphs, her complex sense of identity, along with her struggles. We can’t wait for our audiences to experience the wonder and empathy of Frida for themselves at these exhibitions’ only New York venue.
Participating artists: Cheryl Abraham (Wauna, WA) • Tara Ahern, Mariam Pare, and Reveca Torres (Prospects Heights, IL) • Adela Antoinette (Tucson, AZ) • ARTNWORDZ [Micha Kuechenhoff and Grant Rosen] (Long Beach, CA) • Kim Bagwill (Joshua Tree, CA) • Monica Balmelli (Diamond Bar, CA) • Charles Barth (Cedar Rapids, IA) • Kaethe Bealer (Emeryville, CA) • Mandy Behrens (Berkeley, CA) • Anita Beshirs (San Francisco, CA) • Claudia Blanco (San Jose, CA) • Elisa Bolanos (Lincoln, CA) • Kerstin Bruchhäuser (Hamburg, Germany) • Jamie Burnside (Santa Monica, CA) • Alberto Carol (Miami, FL) • Cheryl Chapman (La Pine, OR) • Mona Cliff (Lawrence, KS) • Sarah Cuevas (Walnut Creek, CA) • Dion Dion (Manchester, MO) • Razan Elbaba (Vienna, VA) • Carlo Fantin (Oakland, CA) • Martin Francisco Valenzuela (Dalton, GA) • Francisco Franco (San Francisco, CA) • Rupert Garcia (Oakland, CA) • Betsy Gorman (Valatie, NY) • Debra Grall (Baraboo, WI) • Amandalynn Grazier (San Francisco, CA) • Simone Guimaraes (San Francisco, CA) • Catherine Hicks (Marble Falls, TX) • Christine Aria Hostetler (Tulso, OK) • Yan Inlow (Alameda, CA) • Sandra De Jaume (Santa Maria del Camí, Majorca, Spain) • Jeni Jenkins (Cincinnati, OH) • Barbara Johansen Newman (Needham, MA) • Johnny Karwan (San Francisco, CA) • Carlyn Krall (Schaefferstown, PA) • Irene A. Lawson (Custer, WA) • Pearl Lee Short (Walnut Creek, CA) • Lujiang Li (Flushing, NY) • Emilio López-Menchero (Brussels, Belgium) • Katie McCann (Berkeley, CA) • Alexis McKeown (Canmore, Alberta, Canada) • Julia McLeod (Walnut Creek, CA) • Kalen Meyer (Berkeley, CA) • Natasha Millard (Lewisville, TX) • Peter Moen (San Jose, CA) • Crystal Moody (Springfield, MO) • Atsuko Morita (San Francisco, CA) • Maria Motta (Walnut Creek, CA) • Nancy Mozelsio (Walnut Creek, CA) • Monica Nares (San Marcos, CA) • Jazmine Parra (Moraga, CA) • Vivian Patton (Groveland, CA) • Stikki Peaches (Canada) • Karen Provost (Townsend, MA) • Bonnie Rathjen (Pleasanton, CA) • Kat Reilly (Redwood City, CA) • Barbara Rivera (San Jacinto, CA) • Lorena Rocha Williams (El Paso, TX) • Pete Rodriguez (Bronx, NY) • Joshua Roman (Pine Mountain Club, CA) • Amanda Rosenblatt (Jacksonville, FL) • Racheal Scotland (Chicago, IL) • Misty Segura-Bowers (San Rafael, CA) • Jennifer Shada (San Francisco, CA) • Denise Silva (Riverside, CA) • Juan Solis (Perris, CA) • Shannon Taylor (Oakland, CA) • Marco Terenziani (Carpi, Italy) • Netsanet Tesfay (Walnut Creek, CA) • Cindy Thompson (Chowchilla, CA) • Marian De La Torre-Easthope (Walnut Creek, CA) • Anna Valdez (San Francisco, CA) • Maya Vera (Tucson, AZ) • Carlos Villez (San Jose, CA) • Roberto Voorbij (Amsterdam, Netherlands) • Lin Wei (San Francisco, CA) • Mimi Williams (Olympia, WA) • Angel Wynn (Santa Fe, NM)
The World of Frida was organized by Carrie Lederer, Curator of Exhibitions, Bedford Gallery, Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, CA. The Hudson River Museum will be the only New York venue for the exhibition.
FRIDA KAHLO IN CONTEXT
The exhibition, organized by the Hudson River Museum to complement The World of Frida, provides a window through which to understand the artist by exploring her culture, life experiences, and personal expression through portraits, historical images, and folkloric costumes.
Frida Kahlo has sparked both admiration and fascination in people from around the world. There is an aura of mystery around the artist, in which the story of her life is intertwined with the personal subject matter and powerful surreal style of her paintings. A devastating bus accident at age eighteen left Kahlo with painful injuries that never completely healed, despite numerous surgeries throughout her life. Yet, the time spent in recovery led her to take up painting to express her experience of pain and loss. As a young, aspiring artist, she sought the counsel of famed Mexican Muralist Diego Rivera, twenty years her senior, and they fell madly in love. Their complicated marriage included a great deal of admiration for each other’s art, but also numerous infidelities on both sides, divorce, remarriage, and emotional pain that added to Kahlo’s physical struggles and emerged powerfully in her paintings.
The persona of Kahlo is inextricable from her beloved Mexico and her relationship with Rivera. Frida Kahlo in Context explores this milieu, showcasing legendary photographs of Kahlo as well as artwork related to her personal life and Mexico. Eighteen photographic portraits capture Kahlo’s personality, fashion, and domestic life, including her relationship with Diego Rivera. The setting of several images is the couple’s beloved home, La Casa Azul (the Blue House), in Coyoacán, a municipality of Mexico City. Three vivid color portraits taken by Nickolas Muray, who not only documented Kahlo but also became her friend and lover, inspired several of the artists featured in The World of Frida. Other photographers include Florence Arquin, Lola Álvarez Bravo, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Héctor García, Juan Guzmán, Fritz Henle, Bernice Kolko, and Bernard Silverman.
Kahlo was deeply invested in Mexico’s cultural revitalization and respected the splendor and resilience of indigenous Mexican culture. The exhibition also includes nineteenth-century photographs and a 1930 painting by George Stengel that illustrate locations around Mexico City frequented by the artists, such as the Paseo de la Reforma, the Cathedral of Guadalupe, and the monastery at Churubusco. These images are complemented by five dance ensembles from Oaxaca, Mexico, the region where Kahlo’s mother was born. Five costumes, lent by the Ballet Folklórico Mexicano de Nueva York, reflect the persona Kahlo crafted for herself wearing similar traditional clothing.
Arriving as a special addition to the exhibition in March will be La ofrenda (The Offering), an important painting by Diego Rivera, on loan from Art Bridges. It depicts three people at an altar to honor the dead in a rainforest, paying tribute to the Mexican cultural tradition of Día de Muertos, the Day of the Dead. La ofrenda reflects the beauty and cultural endurance of post-revolution Mexico, demonstrating Rivera’s belief that “the artist is a direct product of life . . . and a reflector of the aspirations, the desires, and the hopes of his age.”
Frida Kahlo in Context was organized by Laura Vookles, Chair, Curatorial Department, Hudson River Museum.
The Hudson River Museum is grateful to Art Bridges, Ballet Folklórico Mexicano de Nueva York, Throckmorton Gallery, and Jan and Warren Adelson for loans to this exhibition.
Exhibitions are made possible by assistance provided by the County of Westchester.
The World of Frida and Frida Kahlo in Context are supported by the City of Yonkers, Mayor Mike Spano.
BILINGUAL TEACHING ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE
The Teaching Artist-in-Residence for Winter/Spring 2022 is David Enriquez, an emerging artist born in Oaxaca, Mexico and recent summa cum laude graduate of the City University of New York, where he won the James R. Steers Prize in Art. His work focuses primarily on the artistic legacy of the colonial period of Latin America, creating colorful portrait miniatures that highlight the beauty that has been overlooked, undermined, and excluded by the Western art establishment for centuries. Inspired by the relationship of Diego and Frida, their mutual influences, and shared artistic visions, Enriquez will work with HRM audiences over the course of The World of Frida and Frida Kahlo in Context, guiding their understanding of Kahlo and her world, and discovering ways to integrate these elements and ideas into the visitors’ own lived experiences.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a rich array of interdisciplinary programs, including public discussions, music and theatrical performances, and hands-on workshops. The HRM is also partnering with Yonkers Public Library (YPL) on The Estuary Project: Learning that Flows Two Ways, supported by funds from the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO) through the American Recovery Plan Act.
A selection of these programs include:
Artist Workshop with Andrea Arroyo
Sunday, March 20, 1–3pm
This hands-on workshop is led by Andrea Arroyo, a contemporary award-winning Mexican artist whose practice includes public art, painting, drawing, and site-specific installation examining social justice issues and the status of women in society. Arroya’s program is inspired by the unique, passionate, and tempestuous relationship between Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera and will be conducted in English and Spanish.
Understanding the Art and Biography of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera (Virtual)
Wednesday, March 30, 7pm
Hilda Trujillo, former Director of the Diego Rivera-Anahuacalli Museum and the Frida Kahlo Casa Azul Museum, will give a lecture from Mexico City about the artist Frida Kahlo. Trujillo was the Director of the Diego Rivera-Anahuacalli Museum and the Casa Azul Museum from 2002–2020, a period during which both museums flourished as their reputation was established in Mexico and worldwide. During Trujillo’s tenure, she supervised the opening and restoration of the archives in both museums, which brought to light many thousands of documents, photographs, dresses, jewelry, books, drawings, and artworks. These materials, locked away for over 50 years, led art historians and critics to update and reassess the understanding of the two artists.
Fiesta de Frida: A Festival from Frida Kahlo’s Cookbook
Sunday, April 10 (Rain date: Sunday, April 24)
Frida Kahlo’s passion for food was evident in her many lush and anthropomorphic still lifes of fruits and vegetables. But she was also known for her raucous dinner parties in Mexico City. To celebrate Kahlo’s fascination for food and cooking recipes that reflected Mexican cuisine and culture, Guadalupe Rivera, Diego Rivera’s daughter from his first marriage, and author Marie-Pierre Cole published a compilation of Kahlo’s recipes in Frida’s Fiestas: Recipes and Reminiscences of Life with Frida Kahlo. This book will be available in the Museum Shop. Audience members will have the opportunity for conversation with the chef presenters. Recipes will be available in English and Spanish.
Sunday, April 24, 1–3pm
Adorn yourself with flowers! This program will feature a gallery walk with a local horticulturist/botanist to point out the science and iconography of the flowers and foliage in the works on view, with special attention to Diego Rivera’s La ofrenda and photographs in Frida Kahlo in Context as well as the floral motifs found in The World of Frida. Then, you’ll create your own iconic flower crown and learn about its cultural significance. The workshop will be presented in English and Spanish.
Ballet Folklorico Mexicano de Nueva York (HRM Amphitheater)
Sunday, May 8, 2pm (Rain date: Sunday, May 15)
“Frida’s Oaxaca” will feature dances from the region of the artist’s maternal ancestry, in addition to traditional social dances of the people of Mexico City, the home of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. The interactive program will conclude with the dancers inviting audience members onstage for a workshop to learn and perform a simple dance themselves.
Chisme Con Chocolate/Gossip with Chocolate
Saturday, May 21, 1–3pm
Teaching Artist-in-Residence (TAIR) David Enriquez in a lively conversation with an art historian on topics ranging from Frida’s inner circle to Mexican artists in New York to chocolate in Aztec and Mayan art. It will include a demonstration of how traditional Mexican hot chocolate is made followed by a tasting.
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Hudson River Museum is a preeminent cultural institution in Westchester County and the New York metropolitan area. Situated on the banks of the Hudson River in Yonkers, New York, the HRM’s mission is to engage, inspire, and connect diverse communities through the power of the arts, sciences, and history.
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