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FRIDA AND DIEGO At the

FRIDA AND DIEGO At the Heard Museum by Jenna Duncan Works by two of the most beloved monoliths of 20th-century Mexican art, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, will be on view at Heard Museum’s brandnew Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Grand Gallery this month. Dozens of works that belong to the Jacques and Natasha Gelman collection center around the infamous art couple’s intertwined lives, works, friendships and domestic life. This exhibit has been traveling the globe, visiting Sydney, Australia, and Bologna, Italy, before touching down in Phoenix, says Heard curator Janet Cantley. Cantley takes care of preservation, research and communication and does a lot of exhibit development for Heard. Even though this show was already organized, she has had many details to coordinate in order to mount it in the Heard’s newest space. Just two years ago, Heard Museum featured the Frida Kahlo—Her Photos exhibition along with an accompanying exhibit that included many pieces recently discovered after spending decades locked in one of Kahlo’s personal closets at the Blue House, where she and Diego spent most of their domestic life together. The Blue House, located in Coyoacán, a suburb of Mexico City, is now operated as the Frida Kahlo Museum, attracting thousands of visitors each year. Cantley says that the exhibitions two years ago were immensely popular and attracted a different audience than usual. There were many families and members of the Latino community and a greater number of differently-abled guests, Cantley recalls. Kahlo’s allure to such a broad audience may have a lot to do with the physical hardships and surgeries she endured during her lifetime. The current collection of works going on view at Heard consists of 33 paintings and drawings, along with numerous photographs. In addition to Rivera and Kahlo at the center, work by eight other Mexican artists is represented, Cantley says. Paintings by Maria Izquierdo, a contemporary of Kahlo and also a feminist like her, will be on view, as well as figurative abstract and surrealist paintings by Rufino Tamayo. The slightly less well-known figure painter Ángel Zárraga, who painted portraits of Natasha and Jacques Gelman, will also be represented in this show. The exhibit will include about 50 photos of Kahlo and Rivera at home in Mexico, borrowed from Frock Morton Fine Art in New York City. Some of the works on view at Heard will be well recognized by art students and lovers of the Mexican modern art movement. Guests may recognize Rivera’s “Calla Lily Vendor” and another of his paintings entitled “Sunflowers.” Rivera’s works are easy to distinguish because most are “very colorful,” says Cantley. He used blocky representations of the human form, “figures with round heads and no neck.” Fans of Frida will recognize her “Self-Portrait with Monkeys,” and those more familiar with her less broadly published works may recognize “The Love 16 JAVA MAGAZINE

Embrace of the Universe,” because it’s so distinctive. Kahlo rejected the “surrealist” label during her lifetime, but many of her works are rife with symbolism. “The Love Embrace” is an image that shows both the good and evil in the universe. It is basically a canvas divided in halves—dark on one side and light on the other. “There’s a figure representing the universe that’s embracing a figure of Mexico—from the Aztec period, embracing Frida, who is embracing Diego portrayed as a baby,” says Cantley. Also in the painting is the family’s pet Xoloitzcuintle, a breed of small, hairless dog native to Mexico. “You get a sense of what their life was like and all the people who would come to visit,” Cantley says of the photos accompanying the paintings and drawings. In some of the images, Frida Kahlo is visited at home or in her studio by doctors. Some photos show her resting in bed. Visitors will also get a sense of the jet-setting, metropolitan lifestyle the couple led. They traveled a lot and spent time living in U.S. cities such as New York, Chicago and Detroit. In the photographs you can also see their home and many of the Pre-Columbian relics they collected, which often served as inspiration for their artworks. “Diego collected more than 60,000 Pre-Columbian works over the course of his lifetime,” Cantley says. “He even opened a museum, Anahuacalli, in Mexico City and later donated it to the Mexican government,” says Cantley. Two gallery talks, one with Kathy Cano-Murillo, founder of the Phoenix Fridas, and one with Mexican artist Gennaro Garcia, are scheduled for May 6 and June 3 respectively. Heard Museum is offering a short course, open to the public, for those who want to study and research the couple along with the items on view in the exhibition. The course will be held Thursday mornings 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on April 6, 13, and 20 for a small fee and is taught by Claudia Mesh. For other related events, museum times and admission, visit heard.org. “Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera” April 11 – August 20, 2017 Heard Museum heard.org Diego Rivera, Sunflowers, 1943. © 2016 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York and the INBA. Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait with Monkeys, 1943. © 2016 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York and the INBA. Diego Rivera, Calla Lily Vendor, 1943. © 2016 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York and the INBA. Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait as a Tehuana or Diego on My Mind, 1943. © 2016 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York and the INBA. JAVA 17 MAGAZINE

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Frida Kahlo | Autorretrato con traje de terciopelo | oil on canvas | 78 ...
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