When Frida died, her husband Diego Rivera kept her personal belongings locked in trunks and secret. He had ordered them to stay locked for 15 years. Diego passed away four years later, and at his request,the trunks were kept locked by their friend and manager of their houses (turned into Museums) Dolores Olmedo. When Dolores passed in 2004, Frida’s trunks were unlocked. Among dresses, skirts, corsets, shoes, and artwork, there were photographs never seen before.
Now the public can see photos that belonged to Frida’s personal archives. There are over 200 photos of her family, friends, lovers, pets,travels, and hard times painting in her bed and at the hospital.Photos taken for her, of her, and by her. The exhibition Frida Kahlo, Her Photos is at the MOLAA (Museum of Latin American Art), in Long Beach , California until June 8th.
The exhibition was divided into six different sections:
- Photos of Frida’s parents, many taken by her father xxx who was an historic photographer; and Frida with friends, pets, and specially her monkey Fulang Chang.
- La Casa Azul (The Blue House): Photos taken at La Casa Azul, in Coyoacan, Mexico. This is where she was born, spent her childhood,her final years and passed away. Now the Casa Azul is a Museum dedicated to Frida, her art and life.
- Amores (Her loves): Numerous photos of Frida’s friends and lovers. It is no secret that she had many lovers, men and women. In this section there are also photos of her travels to different countries. There are a few photos of indigenous people. I specially liked one from an anonymous author, called Indigenas Enumerados (Numbered Indigenous People).
- The Broken Body: This part of the exhibition shows photos of Frida taken by her lover Nicholas Murray. Frida is painting in her bed with a traction device attached to the bed and pulling her chin to straighten her spine. There are also photos of her in the hospital in NY. There are several mutilated pictures, where she cut herself and others from it, making noticeable not who was in the picture, but who is absent.
- Diego’s Gaze: Photos showing Diego’s view of the world. His relationship with politics can be seen in photos of the dictator Porfirio Dias,the Revolutionary Movement and Diego and Trotsky in Berlin. Technology intrigued him, and it was present in his life as shown in the photos of Diego’s trip to the Ford plant in Detroit. There is also a photo of Diego’s eye captured by Frida.
- Photography: This last section gathers photos from Frida’s personal collection that where purchased or given to her as gifts by friends and famous photographers, such as Tina Modotti and Edward Weston. Some of these pictures influenced her work, like Martin Muncaksis’ black cat.
At the end of the exhibition there is an exploring station on a computer where the visitor can see Frida’s art work in a slide show. There are also two interactive stations where the visitor can either paint Frida’s cast, or write her a Get Well Soon card and hang them on the wall for visitor to see.
If you are in Los Angeles make sure you stop by the MOLAA, the exhibition is only available until June 8th.