Frida Kahlo Photo Exhibit Comes to National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen

PILSEN — Hundreds of previously unseen photos from Frida Kahlo’s personal collection are on display for the first time in Chicago at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen.

The exhibition “Frida Kahlo, her photos” began in 2009 at the La Casa Azul Frida Kahlo museum in Mexico City. It has since traveled to over 20 cities, attracting over a million visitors. It was curated by Mexican photographer Pablo Ortiz Monasterio.

The exhibit at the museum, 1852 W. 19th St., opened to the public on Friday and will run through Aug. 7. The museum is free and is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday through Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday. .

The gallery features portraits of Kahlo and important people in her life, photos she has taken, and photos given to her by others.

Credit: Madison Savedra/Block Club Chicago
Hundreds of photos of Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and other influential figures in Kahlo’s life are available to the public through August.

Photography played an important role in Kahlo’s life, as her father and grandfather were professional photographers. Many photos in the exhibit were taken by the two.

“We need to deepen our understanding of Frida, and this exhibit is one of the ways to do that,” said Perla Alvarez, coordinator of the Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City. “You will understand Frida Kahlo in a totally different way.”

The photographs had been kept for more than 50 years after Kahlo’s husband, Diego Rivera, donated their home, known as La Casa Azul, to be turned into a museum after Kahlo’s death. The photos and other personal effects were discovered in 2004 in intact parts of the house.

Credit: Supplied/Nickolas Muray, 1946
The photos offer a unique look into the personal life of Frida Kahlo.

Cesáreo Moreno, the museum’s chief curator, said it was important to have these photos in Pilsen because of the historically large Mexican population in the neighborhood. He wants neighbors, especially children, to connect with their Mexican heritage.

“How wonderful that a mexican, a Mexican artist is considered an icon? Moreno said. “I think nothing but good can come of it in our community. … We’ve always tried to make the next generation understand where they’re coming from.

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