Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: Art and Life in Modern Mexico
Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: Art and Life in Modern Mexico was an exhibition of artwork and photography hosted by Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki in 2022 and 2023.
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, (installation view) 2022, photography by David St George
From October 2022 to January 2023, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki presented the exhibition Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: Art and Life in Modern Mexico.
Mexican artist Frida Kahlo was one of the twentieth century’s most recognisable cultural icons and, together with her husband, muralist Diego Rivera, she played a crucial role in defining a new art after the Mexican Revolution. Frida’s work explored her personal identity through self-portraits, while Diego’s paintings were of Mexican life.
The exhibition included artworks by Frida and Diego, and work by painters David Siqueiros, Rufino Tamayo and María Izquierdo. It was complemented by a display of original Mexican garments and photographs of Mexican life in the mid-twentieth century, by Frida’s close friends Manuel and Lola Álvarez Bravo, her photographer Nickolas Muray, her father Guillermo Kahlo, Lucienne Bloch and Patti Smith.
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki provided a series of public events including a talk about Mexican modernism by curator Julia Waite; a lecture series on the cultural and artistic foundations of Mexican modern art, by Latin American academics based in New Zealand (Walescka Pino-Ojeda, Leonard Bell and Diana Albarrán González); and screenings of two classic Mexican films: Los de Abajo (1976) and Cuartelazo (1977). These events gave visitors the opportunity to gain a deeper appreciation of the post-revolution political environment that artists like Frida and Diego worked in. The gallery also organised La Fiesta, which allowed visitors to enjoy Mexican food, art, dance, music and storytelling.
The collection of Frida and Diego's work was on loan from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection. The Gelmans were a glamorous European filmmaking couple. Shortly after arriving in Mexico in the early 1940s, they started collecting art from the country’s leading painters. They became friends with Frida and Diego, and often commissioned portraits of themselves. Their collection is now one of the world’s finest private collections of Mexican modernism.
Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: Art and Life in Modern Mexico was an international tour organised by the Vergel Foundation, Mondo Mostre and the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes y Literatura. It was supported by Craigs, Auckland University of Technology, Viva, Omnigraphics and the Auckland Art Gallery Foundation. Over 75,000 people visited the exhibition; it was one of the most successful ticketed exhibitions at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki.
Published 02 November 2023
15 October 2022 to 22 January 2023
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