Thursday, August 14, 2008

"I paint my own reality." -Frida Kahlo

We went to the Frida Kahlo exhibit in the city today at MOMA. Other than being a little freaked at the commodification of such a fine, iconoclastic artist, I loved it. I shouldn't have been surprised that Frida mouse pads and Frida luggage tags were on sale since she's become such an icon--and capitalism loves an icon...it's just so insanely ironic since she was a raging socialist.

It was amazing to look closely at the paintings and see her brushstrokes. That's when I feel time isn't real--that in some ways she's still right here.

The painting above, of the Colonialized Frida holding hands with the Native Mexican Frida, was stunning in person. It's huge, too--something I hadn't expected after seeing it in books for years (and on pot holders and cigarette lighters, ha).


The way she portrays women's bodies, pain, and loss is so powerful.
In person, the hummingbird on her "necklace" looks more dead than in the books. And the cat more sinister. I like the way the colors of the animals reflect her unruly eyebrow(s).

She has a cigarette in her hand in many of the paintings. The birds are fantastic in this one.

Frida had many health problems including childhood polio, a horrific trolley accident in which she was impaled and her back broken, and a miscarriage. Needless to say, she was in pain a lot of her life. A few days before she died she wrote, "I hope the leaving is joyful; and I hope never to return."

*

Afterward, we drove across the city, east to west, to take a walk through Golden Gate Park and to have the very best microbrewed IPA ever made: Presidio IPA. You can only buy it at the Beach Chalet, a very cool restaurant overlooking the vastness of Ocean Beach.

If you're ever in the city, you must go. The fish & chips are really good. The restaurant is upstairs in an old building that features walls filled with a huge depression-era WPA fresco depicting San Francisco. Here's a small slice of it:


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