As a fan of both the written word and visual arts, I’m always tickled when I find ways to learn about contemporary art in new ways.
Recently, I’ve been brushing up on artists and art styles that interest me, and there’s no better place to start than with Frida Kahlo – a visionary and firebrand who would probably be considered provocative even by today’s standards, Frida wrote her own rules for gender, sexuality, bodily autonomy, politics, and relationships, all while making amazing and deeply personal art. Here are a few selections across different formats and genres that may intrigue others who are interested in Kahlo’s unconventional work and life.
The Secret Book of Frida Khalo by F.G. Haghenbeck is a fictionalized biography interspersed with imagined recollections, diary entries, and recipes for her well-known homemade food. Because it’s isn’t strictly nonfiction, the author weaves in elements of magical realism that help the reader explore the darker and more emotional aspects of Frida’s life.
Frida by Jonah Winter – This title is recommended for children in grades K – 2, but as an adult reader, I also found it delightful. Ana Juan’s fantastic illustrations, which are influenced both by Frida’s work and by traditional Mexican folkart, are full of color and movement, and bring real vibrancy to the story.
Frida (DVD) dired by Julia Taymor – In my opinion, this film had both strong and weak points, but Salma Hayek has never been better. The movie focuses mostly on Frida’s tumultuous personal life, including love affairs with everyone from her lifelong lover and on-and-off-again husband Diego Rivera to her flings with Georgia O’Keefe and Leon Trotsky.
Of course, you can’t complete an examination of an artist without paying attention to her art, and the library’s got you covered on that front, too. A number of titles, including Frida Kahlo and Frida Kahlo: The Paintings include both her famous self-portraits and some of her lesser known works. Grab a copy of both to flip though and see why she’s one of modern art’s most recognized and talked about figures.