Wednesday 21 September 2022
Come face to face with one of the 20th century’s most recognisable cultural icons, Frida Kahlo, in an exhibition exclusive in Aotearoa to Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki – Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: Art and Life in Modern Mexico.
Opening Saturday 15 October with a weekend of special events, tickets are on sale now for the exhibition, which reveals the rich histories of modern Mexican art.
Auckland Art Gallery Director Kirsten Lacy is thrilled that Toi o Tāmaki will be presenting the work of a leading female modernist of the early 20th century.
‘Frida Kahlo is an inspiring female icon whose image has come to represent feminine strength and resilience. Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera are recognised for their very distinct contributions to 20th century art. Both the artists, despite possessing completely different styles, became two of Mexico’s most celebrated and inspiring personalities, representing Mexican identity through their work. It’s an enormous privilege to bring the original artworks to Aotearoa,’ says Lacy.
Explore Kahlo’s striking self-portraits and Rivera’s prized easel paintings, alongside more than 150 artworks by leading Mexican artists. Get a glimpse of the chaotic, post-revolutionary world of Kahlo, Rivera and their peers, including artists, photographers, collectors and political figures.
The exhibition includes works by such major figures as muralists David Siqueiros and Rufino Tamayo, and painter María Izquierdo, whose star rivalled Kahlo’s during their lifetimes. Alongside paintings, the exhibition presents an extensive collection of photography, introducing visitors to the innovative work of Lola Álvarez Bravo, Manuel Álvarez Bravo and Nickolas Muray. Also included are authentic Mexican garments and a number of Kahlo’s working drawings.
Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: Art and Life in Modern Mexico comprises the Jacques and Natasha Gelman collection, the preeminent private collection of Mexican modernism. Soon after their arrival in Mexico in the early 1940s, the Gelmans began collecting and commissioning art. They established friendships with Kahlo, Rivera and other artists, often commissioning portraits of themselves for the walls of their home.
Auckland Art Gallery curator, Julia Waite says, ‘Both Kahlo and Rivera made post-revolutionary Mexico an exciting centre for fellow painters, as well as poets, philosophers, photographers and writers. The Gelmans were embedded in the scene and their collection represents an important nucleus of Mexican modernism.’
Alongside the exhibition, Auckland Art Gallery has programmed a series of special events, including celebrations on the exhibition’s opening weekend, a lecture series, and ¡Viva México!, an unforgettable night of Mexican food, music, dance and art. Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: Art and Life in Modern Mexico is organised by the Vergel Foundation and MondoMostre in collaboration with the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes y Literatura. The exhibition is proudly supported by Craigs, AUT, Omnigraphics, VIVA and ZM with special thanks to the Auckland Art Gallery Foundation.