Frida Kahlo’s Wardrobe Makes First Appearance in Brooklyn
The uni-brow. The subtle mustache. The dignified facial expression and black hair adorned with a floral headdress.
These are the traits the public has come to know of the iconic Mexican painter and artist Frida Kahlo. Now, 65 years after her death, Frida continues to enchant modern audiences with her Revolution-driven perspectives and boldly colorful self portraits. Her volatile yet endearing relationship with muralist Diego Rivera intrigues and inspires romance novels, and her unique sense of fashion, which forges Indigenous patterns with the spirit of Mexico, has solidified her status as a pop culture icon.
The Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving exhibit – now on view at the Brooklyn Museum – is a testament to Frida Kahlo’s relentless importance and influence in today’s world. It is the largest show on U.S. soil so far that is devoted to the artist’s work and gives viewers a chance to see Kahlo’s personal artifacts from Casa Azul for the very first time.
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What an amazing beginning for Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving! Thanks to our thousands of visitors and Members who joined us for our sold out opening weekend, and thanks to our partners and sponsors @revlon @bankofamerica @delta @aeromexico @weareleach @cervezabocanegra @josecuervotequila @vamuseum @mexico_mx and @museofridakahlo for making this exhibition, and its festivities, possible. #FridaKahloBKM ? Vladimir Weinstein/BFA.com
The exhibit dives deep into her origins with rare childhood photographs taken by her German father Guillermo Kahlo, along with intimate letters exposing her love affairs outside her unstable marriage with Diego Rivera. Famous paintings on display include Portrait of Diego Rivera, Me and My Doll, and Self Portrait with Monkeys. Additionally, visitors get a first-hand understanding of Kahlo’s commitment to her cultural identity through the Mexican Revolution, which included both her interest in Indigenous art and avid support for communist ideals.
To me, the most exciting part of the exhibit was getting to see the pieces of clothing and accessories worn by Frida herself. So often we see these beautiful fabrics in her self portraits or in the black and white photographs taken by her lover Nicholas Murray, but never have we been able to see them first hand on display until now.
You can see Frida’s struggles with her health (childhood polio and an almost-fatal bus accident) in the tiny leather shoes she wore, which have been readjusted to help with her balance and spine placement. The many corsets on display protected her fragile torso from breaking and served as her “second skin,” which she sometimes even painted to depict her deteriorating health and a miscarriage that followed her marriage. Her vibrant huipil skirts (some of which still have faint traces of blue paint on them), rebozos (shawls), Tehuantepec-inspired blouses, and her antique makeup collection (she was a huge fan of red Revlon nail polish apparently!) serve as colorful assets to the entire exhibit, making it a special experience for visitors to witness a truly physical part of Frida Kahlo’s identity.
Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving is on display at the Brooklyn Museum through May 12. You can purchase timed and untimed tickets here. Please note there is no photography allowed inside the exhibit.
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