EAST LANSING – Since January, the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University has presented visitors with an intimate insight into the end of life of legendary Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.
Next week, the museum will host two events where attendees can hear directly from members of Kahlo’s extended family about the painter’s life.
Artist and co-curator Cristina Kahlo, Frida Kahlo’s grandson, and Juan Coronel Rivera, grandson of another famous painter and Kahlo’s husband Diego Rivera, will discuss art and family in two separate speeches on 29 and 30 June, both at 6pm on the Broad. Both events are free, but pre-registration is required.
“Kahlo Without Borders” has been open to Broad visitors since January 15th and will run until August 7th. The exhibition shares fragments of Kahlo’s personal and artistic world through photographs of her and her family; her medical records of her stay in a Mexico City hospital; correspondence between the artist and her family, friends and doctors; and the photography of Cristina Kahlo.
The exhibit includes photographs of hospital gowns worn by Kahlo, marked with paint stains by the artist cleaning his brushes while working in bed.
The exhibition, which includes 95 different pieces, also features a family tree that draws the boundaries between the artist and Cristina Kahlo. Rivera’s grandmother was not Kahlo. Diego Rivera has been married several times before and after his two marriages with Kahlo.
The exhibition was curated by Cristina Kahlo, Javier Roque Vázquez Juárez and the executive director of Broad Mónica Ramírez-Montagut.
More on art in Greater Lansing:
Shaping an artistic identity: a look at where you can find public art in the Lansing area
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Frida Kahlo’s life was shaped by her physical ailments.
At the age of 6 he contracted polio. At 18, Kahlo was on a tram when he capsized, an accident that had a profound impact on the rest of his life. According to the Broad exhibit, she was unable to walk for several months and eventually she underwent 32 surgeries.
His earliest paintings, which he created while recovering from the accident, were self-portraits.
“I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best,” she once said.
Due to his ailments, Kahlo was unable to have children.
The purpose of including medical records and photographs of her hospital stay, Cristina Kahlo said, is to “provide more information on what she was going through when making a painting.”
For example, Kahlo was working on a painting called “Viva la vida y el Dr. Juan Farill” – dedicated to a surgeon who took care of her – at the time of some documents being created.
“I am sure that Frida wanted to leave all sorts of testimony of her life: the good moments but also the bad ones, like a surgery or a new prosthesis,” said Cristina Kahlo. “In some of her latest photos of her, her physical discomfort was evident, yet a photographer invited to that room was witnessing the moment … she wanted these images to remain beyond her time.”
“In Frida Kahlo’s art, her emotions are transparent to the viewer’s eyes,” she said. “It is something that always fascinates us and brings us closer to her.”
Contact reporter Jared Weber at 517-582-3937 or [email protected]