Thursday, July 26, 2007

Frida Kahlo Centennial Exhibition in DF

We have been to Mexico City for the last few days to see the Frida Kahlo exhibition that commemorates her birth in 1907 and her art. The exhibition ends August 19th. Don't waste time. Book your travel arrangements now. If you think you will see it at one of the venues in the United States, you will be missing out.....only 66 pieces of this show of 350 pieces of her art will travel to the US. It is very fitting that this exhibition that commemorates the centennial of Frida's birth is at the Palacio de Bellas Artes because that is where her wake was held in 1954. The Bellas Artes was originally commissioned in 1904 at a time when Mexico was imitating European styles but because of various political situations in Mexico, it was not complete until 1934. So you find a combination of European classical styles with art deco of the 1920-30s. It is a magnificent building.
We arrived at the Palacio de Bellas Artes at 9:30 to wait in line to buy tickets to see the exhibition. The doors opened at 10 and we had no trouble getting in but when we left the line of ticket holders was long.
If you can see the line snaking up the stairs in this photograph.....that line extended to the right of the image, across this lobby, down a few more steps, across another lobby and out the door of the Bellas Artes and all across the front plaza. They were letting a few people into the galleries at a time. So if you aren't there early to buy your tickets, it is going to be a long day.Even in the early morning, galleries were filled with a steady stream of viewers, moving slowly along seeing the works and studying the images.

Besides many paintings and drawings that I had never seen before because they are held in private collections, the show also included many pieces of Frida's correspondence, selected texts about her political postion and many photographs taken of her by any number of the famous photographers of the day. One room held some of her journals and showed some of the pages, especially of drawings in the journal. I love looking at artists journals and I thought hers were really facinating.

After seeing the show, we hailed a cab to Coyocan and met up with some friends for a leisurely comida. Then we were off to the Frida Kahlo Museum in Coyocan, known as Casa Azul (the Blue House). Casa Azul is the house where Frida was born, lived and died so this is a very unique museum. We had been there before but this day it was special. On exhibition were things that had been stored for 50 years since Diego's death.....photographs that were dedicated to Frida and signed by the photographers, books signed by those who gave them to Frida, personal objects which belonged to Frida and Diego, and more personal correspondence. But the amazing thing was some of Frida's clothing put together as we have seen them in her paintings and in photographs. And they were in her house. It was a very intimate look at the artist.

You can do both of these exhibitions in one day if you get to the Bellas Artes early. It is definitely worth the trip!


Jonna said...

Oh bummer! I was so hoping we could stop in DF and see these exhibits on our way south but we'll never get there by the 19th. We're hoping to leave Ca. around then. So sad!

Babs said...

Billie, I'm so glad you took the time to go see those exhibits. I think I'll jump on the bus the week of the 5th and go down! Thanks for sharing.

pitchertaker said...

Too bad they can't migically transport via some Star Treck way the whole show, building and all, to other locations.