The Frida Kahlo Phenomenon at the Dali Museum, Florida


Nicholas Forrest writes about “Frida Kahlo at The Dali,” Florida’s first solo exhibition dedicated to the work of Frida Kahlo. On show at The Dali Museum until April 17, 2017, the exhibition brings together more than 60 works by the Mexican painter, including 15 paintings, seven drawings, as well as more than 45 of her own personal photographs. Forrest writes, “Together, the works offer visitors a fascinating and revealing insight into the life and psyche of one of the most influential and enigmatic artists of modern times.” The Dali Museum is located at 1 Dali Boulevard, St. Petersburg, Florida.

Dr. Hank Hine, Dali Museum Executive Director, says that Kahlo’s dreamlike images have stirred huge public interest beyond the traditional art audience. “In a way, Kahlo created a persona that serves as a contemporary feminine ideal – both tender and fierce,” says Hine. “Much like Dali, she constructed an eccentric identity through the iconography in her paintings and then dressed and carried herself as the personality she created in her art.”

The Dali Museum is committed to presenting exhibition by artists whose work can in some way be compared or contrasted with that of the Salvador Dali. It fulfils this obligation by proposing links between both artists’ connection to dream, their yearning to embrace the cosmos, their fixations on an intensely loved companion, and what the museum describes as the way both artists “constructed their identities as part of their artwork.”

Then there’s the long-debated connection between Kahlo and Surrealism, which the museum addresses but doesn’t really seek to reconcile. Kahlo may have worked alongside the Surrealists and shared a common predilection for using symbolic iconography, she was adamant that she was not one of them, rejecting the term “Surrealism” in relation to her work. “They thought I was a surrealist, but I wasn’t. I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality,” she once said. [. . .]

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