Friday, July 6, 2012

Frida Friday

calle 4ta.
Mural on Calle 4ta off Ave. Revolución in Tijuana, Baja California, México. 
Earlier this year, taken by me.

Today is Frida Kahlo's birthday (1907-1954).
She was born Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderón on July 6, 1907.
With my black cat on my shoulder and a Lila Down's song, today I will celebrate one of Mexico's finest.

In 1930, when Diego received several commissions to paint murals in the United States, the couple packed their bags and headed north. At the end of four years, Diego remained content in his American surroundings, but Frida was homesick and miserable. Her experience living in "Gringolandia" inspired the painting, Self-portrait on the Borderline Between Mexico and the United States.  
Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo by Hayden Herrera
-Above copy via the life and times of Frida Kahlo which also includes interactive information on her USA/Mexico border self-portrait.

Self-portrait on the border, between Mexico and the US of A. 1932.

Some time ago, I saw this almost too cute painting by Tascha found via Richard's
via Tascha's etsy page.

snail mail y one of her lovers
In 2001, Frida became the first Hispanic woman to be honored in postal stamps in the United States, or in gringolandia, as she would say. The stamp art is her self-portrait painting from 1933. The photograph is by Hungarian-born American photographer and of course, one of her lovers, Nickolas Muray (1892-1965).

Screenshots of the images below, via the
Friday y Nick in her studio in Coyoacán, 1941.

Frida in San Pancho, 1941: Rare photograph
While Diego was commissioned to do murals in San Francisco, Frida had divorced him. But remarried again, and found this photograph as a rare sighting of the two in the city.
This unusual photograph appeared in the March 1941 edition of San Francisco Life, a tourist publication that featured restaurants that paid for advertisements in the magazine. The photo was taken at Cathay House, 718 California, at Grant Ave., probably in January or early February 1941.

Frida in San Pancho, 2012: Frida by Lola Álvarez Bravo
I was lucky to catch the SF MOMA's exhibit: Photography in Mexico. 
The photography exhibit closes this Sunday, July 8th. Check it out if you have a chance. Beautiful work, interesting display of demographics and the non-existence of a middle class, and a great dose of inspiration. It was also great to see Tijuana's own  Yvonne Venegas (Julieta's twin sister) work, by photographing one of the private events for the utmost filthy rich families in Mexico, Hank Rohn's. Renowned for many other inhumane things let me not forget to mention that this extinct animal-pets collector has arrogantly stated that his favorite erotic animal, is a woman. Absolutely disgusting.
OK, back to Frida. Here is one of the amazing photographs by Lola Álvarez Bravo.
In my personal opinion, Mexican women photographers in this exhibit have a softer engagement with their target weather be a person they are taking a portrait of, or a landscape. Their point of view and the outcome is that much softer than the men photographers. That is one of the main things that I noticed within the works pre-color section. I found that difference in aesthetic style quite interesting.
A quick note to thank Brian for the museum friend-date.
Lola Alvarez Bravo: Frida Standing with Dog 1942

Frida in San Pancho, 2012: Frida, Jean Paul Gaultier y Rio Yañez
I have yet to check out the JPG exhibit at the DeYoung, but it is on my to-do local exhibits list here in San Francisco. My homeboy Rio Yañez has his modern Frida 3D piece as part of the exhibit. So rad, congrats Rio!
The designs of Jean Paul Gaultier often straddle the seemingly divergent worlds of haute couture and street fashion. To illustrate the profound influence of the street’s wild style on Gaultier’s designs, the museum commissioned San Francisco based artist Rio Yañez to create a 65-foot long graffiti mural, which will serve as the backdrop for the Punk Cancan section of the exhibition. The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk opens March 24 at the de Young.
The Two Fridas 3D
The Two Fridas 3D by ©Rio Yañez

Frida y yo
The first time I visited el DF,  Mexico City, I was beyond stoked to see Diego's murals in person in the Palacio Nacional. The second picture is 2 years after that, also in Mexico but in the lower west coast state of Nayarit.
 spring 2005
Ariel y yo  – Palacio Nacional, DF/Mexico City, 2005.
A very rare teenage Frida photograph +i. 2 minutes after swimming in the ocean, the same coast she is sitting by – Nayarit 2007. 

Mexican currency
In 2010, Friday y Diego were together once again on both sides of the Mexican 500 pesos bill, which as of today is about $37usd. I'm sure she would be happy at least they are on separate sides of the bill, because, you know she would have preferred it that way.
I came across the video below via the LAtimes. Further currency release reading here: Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera to be reunited on Mexican bill

Below are two small fotos of the bill, taken with my mobile phone.
A cuestas, forever together.

Lila Downs
A linear family similarity to Frida's German father, Lila's dad is not Mexican either, but Scottish-American.
Powerful, intimidatingly beautiful and amazing, Lila is not only an iconic writer/composer, but has a long career as an activist for indigenous groups in Mexico, in particular in the Oaxacan region.
I remember clearly an evening I was wandering aimlessly in Tower Records and found the-then just released (in 2001) Border record, and immediately fell in love. I had the pleasure to see Lila Downs enamoured the audience in San José, California as well as an intimate little troubadour cafe a few years ago in her homestate of Oaxaca. Her other homestate is Minnesota, US.
A must see live. Beautiful. So beautiful.
When I lived in Oaxaca was one of the best reflective times of my life. The land of the seven moles has a magical effect, loving memories of love and growth. There is certainly something in all those tlayudas +queso.

- - -
Frida's life, her legacy as a female artist and radical thinker, is a chameleon of colour, pain and iconic art history from Mexico, to the world.
It is easy to find furthermore information and resources about her and her work through the internet, exhibitions and books.

"A veces prefiero hablar con obreros y albañiles que con esa gente estúpida que se hace llamar gente culta"
-Frida Kahlo

I enjoyed putting this post together and I hope you do as well.
Happy birthday y feliz cumpleaños mi Frida, sufrida.

Have a grand weekend everyone.


  1. I'm a Frida fan too. I have a crappy print of her portrait in our living room. I should seek her stuff out in Tijuana sometime. Most of what I know is just via online reading.

    1. oh hey beany, yes most of the recent murals of frida i've seen pop up are by HEM. I sure hope they linger around for at least sometime. another one that is a bit hidden is between the diana cazadora +city hall. saw it last time i rode past it around may. ez to miss however
      saludos xxo

  2. Hey girl, my friend Daniel has been painting Fridas on clothing for about a year. I should get him to make you something. Perhaps you have an article of clothing? Let's talk soon! xoxo

    1. that would be great, yes keep me posted ;)

  3. Great post, Meli! I should get to the DeYoung, but the exhibit at MOMA was great! I've always had a fascination with Diego R. because he was friends with Edward Weston, all nicely documented in the first volume of EW's Daybooks (Mexico).
    And oh lord, the Mexican murals... I used to be in the artist's paint "biz" so I go on endlessly about how Jose Guiterrez and his brand "Politec" brought acrylics (at first solvent based, and later water soluble formulas) to the Mexican masters and consequently, to the rest of the world.

    1. oh edward neston, i'll have to look into that book, is that the title? thx for your always insightful wise comments. I have not heard the Politec since my art school days, which wasnt really that long ago (a decade is not that long!)
      ;) xxom

  4. Meli, you should come by our bike portrait photo booth at the Academy of Sciences Nightlife this Thursday 7/12. Daniel is designing the backdrop. You may have seen him before on my blog.

    1. Ohh hay fantastic! thx for letting me know <3
      I'll repost it, so stoked for you :)) sounds like fun -- I'll def. try to make it

  5. cool. hope to see you there. :-)

  6. i love frida kahlo, i used to get into the biggest arguments with my professor because he called her a puta, I was like "what about diego?" she is such a revolutionist and inspires me daily. thanks for sharing. xoxo.

  7. I did enjoy it! Such a fascinating woman!


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