Friday, July 25, 2008

Visiting Frida Kahlo Exhibition at SFMOMA

Last night I got together a group of San Francisco friends and we went to see the Frida Kahlo show at SFMOMA. Thursday nights tickets are half price and the museum is open until 9pm. We made a fantastic evening of the exhibition followed by dinner at Maya a modern Mexican cuisine restaurant located a few blocks from the museum.

We were very lucky that my friend Thelma is a docent at SFMOMA and took us around the exhibition. If you can, try to get a docent tour. It makes all the difference. Thelma highlighted just a few images and used those to highlight the monumental events in Frida's life - her accident, marriage to Diego and miscarriages.

We started at the San Francisco wedding portrait Freida and Diego Rivera, 1931 and Thelma asked us to point out what we noticed about the image. The difference between the two figures was the most obvious - that one is large and monochromatic and the other, Frida, is small and brightly colored. We discussed her traditional clothing and the delicate placement of their hands. An interesting element that I hadn't noticed is that Diego is the one holding the paintbrushes and palette although Frida was the painting's artist.

Thelma took us to The Two Fridas, 1939 and we immediately noticed the similar clasp of the two Fridas' hands. In this image the Frida on the right holds a small portrait of Diego as a small boy. From it there is a vein that wraps around her arm, connects to a human heart, crosses over her shoulder and around the back and neck of the left Frida and to her broken heart and continues to this Frida's lap where she holds medical scissors that attempt to stop its slow bleeding. Thelma pointed out that this is one of the first known double self-portraits. It was painted when Frida and Diego were between marriages.

The final image we viewed was The Love Embrace of the Universe, the Earth (Mexico), Diego, Me and Senor Xolotl, 1949. In the center is a nude Diego being embraced by Frida who is embraced by the earth which is embraced by the universe. Frida is in a nurturing role but she cries and her heart bleeds. It is Mother Earth who is fertile. Diego, with his third eye has the wisdom as well as the source of fuel - fire, held in his embrace.

Although I have seen many of these images in Museo Frida Kahlo and Museo Dolores Olmedo in Xochimilco, Mexico City, there were some new images. Plus, to my delight and surprise the Portrait of Doctor Eloesser was there. He looked like there had been additional restoration work done on his face and hair beyond the work that the Museo Dolores Olmedo restores performed in 2005. There was no reason to be surprised to see him there considering that the image lives in the San Francisco General Hospital. Perhaps it was more the joy of seeing an old friend.

Fantastic additions to the exhibition included a small gallery of artifacts from Frida and Diego's stay in San Francisco including their marriage license. (So fantastic that I was married in the same city hall and have the same marriage license nearly 90 years later). Another gallery had dozens of never-before-seen original photos of Frida, Diego, their friends and family.

Although it was very crowded and our little docent tour kept picking up folks we had a fantastic and somewhat intimate view of the exhibition with Thelma's guidance. A real joy was a little girl who attended with her mom - both were dressed in traditional Mexican dresses and the girl had a hairpiece that made her look like Frida with braids and flowers in her hair. It was wonderful. Both gift shops offered many of these items and other Mexican crafts. It made me want to return to Mexico City and purchase thousands of paper flowers to fill my bedroom.

SFMOMA has an interactive online education site about Frida that you can access here.
This is a street banner in the Mission District for the exhibition.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Casa Bonampak

Now that I am again living in the San Francisco Bay Area there will be more posts of Frida in SF. Here is a fantastic little store I found in the Mission District, Casa Bonampak, a Fair Trade store located at 3331 24th Street between Mission and Valencia just half a block up from the 24th Street BART Station

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Frida Kahlo Exhibition at SFMOMA opens June 14 2008

SFMOMA presents an exhibition simple titled Frida from June 14 - September 28, 2008.

Along with the exhibition are excellent educational programmes including: Learning from Frida Kahlo: Exploring Identity in Modern and Contemporary Art Julie Charles, associate curator, education, SFMOMA Alison Gass, assistant curator, painting and sculpture, SFMOMA Thursdays, July 17 - August 14, 20086:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.UC Berkeley Extension, 95 Third Street, San Francisco Taking Kahlo's work as its starting point, this course explores how other artists tackle themes of identity. Charles and Gass position Kahlo within a broader context of art history, using this expanded field as a means of defining the ways in which art reflects and constructs our understanding of ourselves, others, and the world we live in. Themes include the cult of the artist, artistic partnerships, the body, nationalism, portraiture, and Surrealism.

One semester unit of academic credit in art history. To enroll, call 510.642.4111 and reference course number EDP014985. More info here.

Good thing I'll be living back in San Francisco during the exhibition!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Frida in Film

In 2005 the Tate Modern in London presented the film series Angel of Fire: Frida Kahlo Film Programme.

"The Frida Kahlo film programme celebrates Mexico’s rich cinematic history. The series draws on a broad range of documentary and feature films that illuminate Kahlo’s involvement in Mexico’s cultural and political landscape and examines her complex personal relationships. Free programmes of documentaries about Kahlo are held on Sunday afternoons throughout the exhibition's run."

Films shown included:

A Woman in Love (Enamorada)
The Life and Death of Frida Kahlo
¡Que Viva Mexico!
The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo
The Iron Fist (El Puño de Hierro)
Frida Kahlo and Tina Modotti
Reed: Insurgent Mexico
Frida, Naturaleza Viva
Angel of Fire (Angel de Fuego)
Perfume de Violetas (Violet Perfume)

I visited the Tate's Frida Kahlo exhibition, at which these films were presented, having recently been to Mexico City. I was there at the invitation of Museo Dolores Olmedo to officially witness the removal and crating of her Dr. Eloesser portrait back to San Francisco. Unfortunately I did not see any of these films. I am particularly interested in UK-based Professor/filmmaker Laura Mulvey's film Frida Kahlo and Tina Modotti. Perhaps it can be found on the internet. I will continue to explore.

Not on this list is the feature film Frida by Julie Taymor.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Homenaje a Frida Kahlo Galeria de la Raza

Galeria de la Raza located in San Francisco's Mission District presented the exhibition Homenaje a Frida Kahlo in November 2, 1978 - January 12, 1979. Images from the exhibition including a mural by Michael V Rios exhibition poster by artist Rupert Garcia both featuring Kahlo can be viewed online. Galeria de la Raza is under the Executive Direction of Carolina Ponce de Leon who is one of the most inspirational women I met in my post as Director of Arts & Business Partnerships at Business Arts Council in San Francisco.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Frida's Astrological Chart

The things you find on the web. Here is Frida's astrological chart from the webiste Lois Rodden's AstroDataBank. The website also has an interesting take on Frida's bio. If you know how to read these charts perhaps you can make heads or tails of her stay in San Francisco.
Here's how Rodden plotted the chart:

Birth Date:
07/06/1907 (July 6, 1907)
Birth Time:
08:30 (8:30 AM) (+6:36:40)
Birth Place:
Coyoacan, Mexico
Latitude / Longitude:
19 N 20 / 99 W 10
Rodden Rating / Source:
AA / Quoted BC/BR
Source Notes:
LMR quotes Hayden Herrera in his biography "Frida," where he pictures her B.C.

Interpretive Reports
Check these chart interpretations:
From the Indra Report from Kepler.
From the Merlin Report from Kepler.
From the The Sky Within Report from Matrix.
From the Professional Natal Report from Astrolabe.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

San Francisco Bay Area artist Rupert Garcia

Rupert Garcia, a renowned San Francisco Bay Area Artist represented by Rena Bransten Gallery has made artwork featuring Frida Kahlo and also presented lectures on her work. In 2004 I had the pleasure of working with Rupert within the Hearts in San Francisco project of which I was Project Coordinator. He designed one of the giant Heart sculptures which was placed in public view during the city-wide exhibition.
If I had known before today that he was so fond of Frida Kahlo I would have spent more time talking with him about his studies on her life and work.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Dr Eloesser's Last Will and Testament

Amazing what you can find on the internet. In a 2007 article discussing the alleged inappropriate use Dr. Eloesser's bequest to a Quaker Charity to benefit medical students the publication has posted a PDF version of Dr. Eloesser's Last Will and Testament. Although there is no mention of Frida or Diego it does give some insight into his personality.

Dr. Leo Eloesser's Last Will and Testament.

The Will was drafted and signed in San Francisco in 1975 and he died in Mexico in 1976 at the age of 95.

The Hoover Institution Papers Contain Frida Kahlo Content

The San Francisco Bay Area is home to Stanford University which houses the Hoover Institution that holds documents related to Frida Kahlo in archive of Bertram David Wolfe and Dr. Leo Eloesser. Both were friends with Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

About Wolfe (from Wikipedia) "Bertram David Wolfe (January 19, 1896February 21, 1977) was an American scholar and former Communist best known for writing Three Who Made a Revolution (1948), a biographical study of Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky, and The Fabulous Life of Diego Rivera (ISBN 0-8128-1259-X)." The Wolfe Paper Archives which are the papers were donated by his wife Ella Goldberg Wolfe who donated them when she died on 8 January 2000. Ella was friends with Kahlo and wrote letters.

Link to summary of Wolfe papers

Bert Wolfe paper archives related to Frida Kahlo:
Correspondence 1913 - 1997
[ Folder 55 ]Rivera, Frida Kahlo de, 1933-1946 (8)

Speeches and writing 1914 - 1976
[ Folder 27 ] Frida Kahlo de Rivera (in Spanish), Letras de Mexico, November 1938. Printed copy

Subject file 1903 - 1977
[ Folder 27 ]Rivera, Frida Kahlo

Dr. Eloesser was born in San Francisco in 1881 and Frida was his patient at the San Francisco General Hospital.

Link to summary of Dr. Eloesser's paper which contain content related to Frida Kahlo. Unfortunately no list of content provided on Hoover Institution website.

Website celebrates Frida at 100

A new bilingual Spanish/English website commemorating the 100th anniversary of Frida's birth, July 6 1907, was launched in January 2008 and is a superb resources for information about her life and art.

Excellent photos of Frida in San Francisco.

Visit Frida Kahlo Fans here.