Frida Kahlo and the California Academy of Sciences

Frida Kahlo has become a household name and in celebration of her 100th birthday, there was a special exhibit at the MOMA in SF featuring her most celebrated paintings. Frida Kahlo’s (1907-1954) trademark uni-brow and marriage to Mexican muralist Diego Rivera has earned her plenty of publicity, but it’s her captivating paintings that really sets her apart from other Mexican painters of the 20th century. Her physical suffering from polio, a life-threatening bus accident, and roller-coaster marriage to Diego Rivera have been reproduced in her paintings using strong symbols and graphic imagery. Frida Kahlo’s popularity exploded in the 1980’s and she has become almost a cult icon of personal strength and perseverance. I have to say that the “Fridamania” is a little over the top with her work reproduced on bracelets, t-shirts, bags, pens and disposable tattoos, which really massacres her art and turns it into a symbol or brand. I only hope that people will take the time to look at her not for what she represents, but as a talented artist as well. She paints the unseen, the internal emotions of an event or person and she is one of my favorite artists of all time.

When I was waiting in line to see the exhibit I felt like a 10 year-old kid going to Disneyland! Although it was incredibly crowded, it was such an honor to stand in front of her paintings which have such a presence and power. No reproduction can display the care and talent I saw in her work.

Frida Kahlo has influenced artists from around and has influenced my personal paintings and perspective as well. Seeing her art in person was one of the most gratifying experiences. I can’t wait to go down to Mexico and see her house, La Casa Azul. 🙂

To learn more about Frida visit www.fridakahlo.com. Also check out the film “Frida” (2002) directed by the amazing Julie Taymor who tells the story in an artistic and visually stimulating way. This film won 2 Oscars, 12 other awards and according to Salma Hayek (who played Frida), was well received by Frida’s family. It’s a must-see.

While in San Francisco we also made it to the opening of the California Academy of Sciences. This new facility in Golden Gate Park includes a planetarium, 4-story rainforest exhibit, aqurium, natural history museum and more! This building took 10 years and $500 million and with it’s 2.5 acre “green roof,” and abundance of recyclable materials, it’s quickly becoming known as the greenest museum in the world. Tens of thousands of people flocked to get free entrance on opening day, but as the line stretched around 1/2 mile at noon, we decided NOT to go inside. They had booths promoting sustainable energy and electric cars and we were entertained by live jazz music and Chinese acrobats. It was a beautiful day in the sun. I look forward to visiting the museum again when I don’t have to wait in line for 4 hours. 🙂

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