This weekend marks your last chance to see the Frist’s comprehensive exhibition “Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism,” up through Sept. 2. The exhibition, which includes more than 150 works by Frida, Diego, and their contemporaries and followers from the private collection of Jacques and Natasha Gelman, presents a unique opportunity in the U.S., where less than twenty of Kahlo’s paintings are housed in any museum’s permanent collection. To me, what made the the exhibition so special was not only the work—and there are several of Frida’s haunting, inscrutable, iconic self-portraits on display—but the breadth of accompanying material on hand, which gave them context and new resonance: dozens of photographs of Frida and Diego in New York and Mexico City and Detroit, shots of Frida’s crutches taken by Patti Smith, a collection of outfits modeled on Frida’s inimitable style, and an inscrutable, moving video of the two lovers exchanging flowers. Flipping through the guestbook by the exhibition’s exhibit, I saw an unsigned comment: “Frida – you lived fully and true to yourself, and you have given me strength to be true to myself.” By proudly representing Frida’s own irreducibility, the works in this exhibition show us our own beautiful, vexing complexities anew.

Posted on August 30, 2019
Written by John Shakespear