October 28, 2012

The High Museum of Art in collaboration with the Art Gallery of Ontario is organizing a major exhibition of work by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, the two central figures of Mexican Modernism. The exhibition “Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics, and Painting” will feature some of the best examples of Kahlo and Rivera’s work with approximately 140 works primarily drawn from the collection of Mexico’s Museo Dolores Olmedo, the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of Mexican Art, and the Galería Arvil. The exhibition will pair together works by Frida and Diego chronologically and according to themes, including maternity, Mexican identity, and portraiture. The High Museum of Art will be the only U.S. venue for this exhibition. Opening in Atlanta on Feb. 14, 2013, the exhibition will remain on view through May 12, 2013. The exhibition will be accompanied by a full-color catalogue.

“Frida & Diego” is particularly significant because it marks the first time important works by these two influential Mexican artists will be shown in the Southeast,” said Michael E. Shapiro, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green Director of the High Museum of Art. “By working with Art Gallery of Ontario, the High Museum of Art continues its commitment to collaborative partnerships that bring great works of art from around the world to Atlanta.”

“Frida & Diego” positions the artists‚ work in the political and artistic contexts of their time. Few artists have captured the public's imagination with the force of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo (1907 ˆ 1954) and her husband, the Mexican painter and muralist Diego Rivera (1886 ˆ 1957). The myths that surrounded them in their lifetime arose not only from their significant body of work, but also from their active participation in the historical happenings of their time. Their work speaks of a fierce loyalty to and pride in Mexico, the ideals of the 1910 Mexican revolution and their commitment to the conditions of the common man.

“Most scholarship about Frida and Diego focuses on their tumultuous relationship as a couple rather than their shared ideas and ideals,” said Elliott King, guest curator of the exhibition. “Frida & Diego‚ instead focuses on how the artists influenced each other while learning from and sharing in each other‚s successes and failures. It considers both artists in a shared cultural and political context.”

The Museo Dolores Olmedo houses the world‚s largest collection of works by Kahlo. The museum’s collection also features numerous works by Rivera that helped establish the Mexican School of Painting, as well as his portraits, both of which are represented in “Frida & Diego.” The exhibition also features works from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of Mexican Art, which comprises the largest private holding of 20th-century Mexican art, spanning works from the 1910s to the 1990s. Friends of Rivera and Kahlo, the Gelmans amassed a significant number of their works, including Kahlo’s inventive self-portraits and Rivera‚s portrait of Natasha Gelman from 1943.

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