For years, Denver’s Latinx community – and creative community in general – has been yearning for a way to see the seminal work of Frida Kahlo. We got a single self-portrait in 2014’s Modern Masters exhibition at the Denver Art Museum, but it wasn’t enough to satiate our hunger. That will all change in October 2020, when the DAM will host the traveling exhibition, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection.
The show consists of more than 150 artworks from Kahlo, Diego Riviera and their contemporaries who were working in 1920s post-revolution Mexico. While that time period was crucial to shaping Mexico’s national identity, the artists working at the time helped shape Mexico’s cultural identity. In fact, they helped shape the entire cultural identity of the Western Hemisphere by influencing the conversation surrounding communism and political autonomy.
Through multiple mediums, artistic conventions and personal narratives, the Mexican avant-garde made a lasting impact on Western art. The most well-known works are those of the muralists, such as Rivera, who were covering the walls of churches, schools and government buildings in Mexico and the US. But Kahlo’s work that combined surrealist imagery with deeply personal narratives has arguably had the biggest impact on the public conscience.
Together with their contemporaries, Kahlo and Rivera helped many communities of color communicate the diaspora and mestizaje that come from our colonized past while also showing an almost utopian future. For that reason, it’s difficult to put into words what this exhibition will mean to the large Latinx community of Colorado. For the first time, we’ll be able to see more than 20 artworks by Kahlo.
“I hope this exhibition increases the understanding and appreciation of artists such as Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and the iconic Mexican modernist artists of the 20th century,” said DAM curator Rebecca Hart. “It’s also my hope that visitors are able to draw connections with their personal experiences and the world around them through the artworks and narratives on display.”
Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Mexican Modernism from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection will be on display in the DAM’s Anschutz and Martin & McCormick Galleries from October 25, 2020, to January 17, 2021. It is organized by The Vergel Foundation and MondoMostre in collaboration with the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes y Literatura (INBAL). For more information, go here.
Image credit (From left) Frida Kahlo, Diego on my Mind, 1943. Oil on Masonite; 29.9 x 24 in. (76 x 61 cm). The Vergel Foundation. ©2019 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo by Gerardo Suter. ; Diego Rivera, Calla Lilly Vendor, 1943. Oil on Masonite; 59.1 x 47.2 in. (150 x 120 cm). The Vergel Foundation. ©2019 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo by Gerardo Suter. ;Carlos Mérida, Festival of the Birds, 1959. Polished board; 19.7 x 15.7 in. (50 x 40 cm). The Vergel Foundation. ©2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/SOMAAP, Mexico City. Photo by Gerardo Suter.