An exposed torso reveals a cracking column on which Frida Kahlo’s head is precariously balanced. Such describes a 1944 self-portrait entitled The Broken Column (La Columna Rota), which the Frida Kahlo: Timeless exhibit well complements with artifacts from the artist’s life and times. Alluding to her bodily trauma, ailments, and medical treatments, these supplementary artifacts and photos enrich and contextualize much of the content of her work.
Another such example is her pioneering 1932 oil painting on childbirth and miscarriage, Henry Ford Hospital (Hospital Henry Ford), which shows Frida in a bloodied hospital bed, six symbolic objects held in her left hand by red string. Her 1929 oil painting, The Bus, influenced by Diego Rivera, also takes on special significance after learning the details of an 18 years-old Kahlo’s bus accident. Kahlo lovingly depicts everyone on the bus with a quiet dignity, even as the real-life bus accident that caused a piece of wreckage to impale her pelvis suggests a more sinister form of inspiration behind the piece.
These are but two of the 26 original Frida Kahlo works that together serve as the centerpiece of this enhancing and detailed retrospective of her upbringing and adult life. It even includes the social and historical movements she took part in to support the indigenous people of Mexico, the workers’ movements, and more. While you may be tempted to hurry through this portion of the exhibit in order to get to the artist’s work itself, your appreciation of Kahlo’s symbolism will, in this writer’s opinion, deepen by spending a more focused period of time in the first portion of the gallery.
McAninch Arts Center’s FRIDA KAHLO: TIMELESS Uncovers the Artist’s History
The scope of works on display at Frida Kahlo: Timeless will likely compel you, like this writer and fellow Picture This Post reviewer Caryn Hoffman, to seek a return visit. Unless you’ve had the chance to visit the Museo Dolores Olmedo in Mexico City, it’s unlikely that you’ve seen many of Kahlo’s works side-by-side in an art museum. As such, the longer you spend with the exhibit the more you’re likely to recognize new layers of meaning in her various works, in this writer’s opinion. While her paintings are the star of this exhibit, other works—including a lithographic and various sketches—round out the gallery and paint a fuller picture of the multi-talented artist.
Thru September 6, 2021
Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays: 10 a.m.- 10 p.m.
Thursdays: 10 a.m.-6 p.m
College of DuPage McAninch Arts Center
Cleve Carney Museum
425 Fawell Blvd.
Glen Ellyn, Illinois 60137
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the Frida Kahlo: Timeless page on the Cleve Carney Museum website or call 630.942.4000
Images courtesy of Cleve Carney Museum
About the Author: Brent Ervin-Eickhoff
Brent fell in love with storytelling as a 2nd grader, making a movie about wizards in his backyard with his mother's borrowed camcorder. Since then, he has worked on countless creative projects as a filmmaker, writer, and stage director. In all of his work, Brent's goal is to foster creative experiences that offer others a deeper understanding of the impact their choices have on the world around them.
When he isn't working on a creative project, Brent enjoys trying out new recipes, attending live concerts, and playing Ultimate Frisbee. While he wouldn't claim to be particularly athletic, competing in pick-up games where "spirit of the game" is just as important as skill is right up his alley.
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