Soy una mezcla (I am a mixture).
A few days after seeing Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving at the Brooklyn Museum, I keep coming back to one of the smaller works on display, one I didn’t know before I saw the show. Both its size and its black-and-white palette made it easy to overlook. Entitled Frida y el aborto (Frida and the Miscarriage), it’s a simple lithograph of which only three copies remain, Frida having destroyed the rest. She commented about her miscarriages, “Many things prevented the fulfillment of the desire all consider normal, and nothing seemed more normal to me than to paint what I had not achieved…I lost three children…Painting replaced all of that.”
As with Kahlo’s body of work itself, color is a defining element of much of the rest of the exhibition. It includes clothing both from her personal wardrobe and similar pieces, down to the plaster casts she wore on her torso after a streetcar accident left her permanently disabled; photographs from all stages of her life, including the brilliant color photos by her lover Nickolas Muray; and some of her best-loved paintings, including one of my favorites, Love Embrace of the Universe, the Earth (Mexico), Myself, Diego, and Señor Xolotl. The lightboxes at the front of the exhibit (pictured above) pop in cerulean and peach; the walls inside are emerald and maize.