Diego Rivera could be termed a happy chef, mixing many gifts of nature and history into revealing and joyous adventures of taste and travel (hard or otherwise). His far less happy partner, Frida Kahlo, was something else. And yet, you could say their art intermingled in exciting ways.
Bruised by poor health and other frustrations, she nonetheless, like Diego, placed herself at the disposal of tropical beauty, in the course of generating a life that rocked.
Having become a friend of Surrealist poet, polemicist and Communist, Andre Breton (in the course of the latter’s attachment to Diego’s flashy modernist paintings and Social Realist murals), she was emboldened to formalize her recooperative instincts along lines of spooky compositions that were—in true Surrealist fashion—not without dark and mysterious payoffs.
Frida was not merely a dutiful patient and candidate for Surrealist confirmation. Her ways of transforming sorrows and horrors were inspired, assured and haunting.
Like other practitioners of major catastrophe and audacious stakes (Baudelaire, Genet and Scott Fitzgerald come to mind immediately), hers was a muse perfectly suited to rapt, cult adulation that would burn brightly even today, long after her death.
The work shown directly above masterfully puts into play intuitions as to the disparate powers of human experience, a zone of Surrealist preoccupation as compelling today as it was nearly a hundred years ago.
An upshot of that venture is the startling and reflectively rich emulation, by women all over the world, of Frida’s bold gestures.