A Day with Frida Kahlo at the SFMOMA

Well the next stop on my museum tour in San Francisco was the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). Wow! Let me just say this is a fantastic city and its arts district is amazing!

"The Broken Column", Frida Kahlo, 1944, Oil on Canvas

The Frida Kahlo exhibit opened at SFMOMA on June 14, 2008 and will run to September 28, 2008. 

This exhibition commemorating the centennial of the artist's birth, brings together paintings that span her career, along with a selection of her own collection of photographs, most of which have never been seen of public display.

I thought the exhibit was laid out well. However, for me, it was too crowded. I know that a crowded exhibit is generally a good thing...good for the museum, etc. but when I go to a museum I don't like to be herded along. I want to look at the paintings on my own not in a tour-like format. There was so many people at the Kahlo exhibit that there was a starting line and people moved from one painting to another. I quickly broke out of the line and moved about on my own. Maybe that was rude but I was getting extremely agitated.

The other thing is that I really respect Kahlo as a female artist. I think she should have kicked Diego Rivera, her husband , to the curb but love is a cruel master so I can't really judge their relationship. However, he did some really despicable things to her in their marriage..like have an affair with her sister! But what really struck me about her was the torment her very life was. In the end, she welcomed death. Her body was constantly a source of great pain for her and she portrayed that in many of her paintings as well as the pain that Diego caused her. I find that I appreciated those paintings the most in the exhibit. I don't really feel a connection to her still lifes. But the somewhat surreal paintings that portray her anguish are the ones that resonate with me the most.

I recommend the exhibit even if you are not particularly a Frida Kahlo fan. There is a lot of interesting facts and photographs about her life that are on display as well. For example, I didn't know that her first solo show ever was in San Francisco, CA. So this city was special to her as well as her native Mexico. 

The museum offers a really neat audio tour to give an extra dimension to each painting. I think is a very nice feature to any exhibit.

Even if you can't get to the city to see the actual exhibit, the SFMOMA website has a great interactive video feature you can view and learn more about the artist.


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