Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Finding Frida

By: Chris Rossi, Associate Curator of Exhibitions

It’s November, the trees are bare and the world is reduced to somber notes of ochre and burnt umber. So naturally, this curator’s thoughts turn toward warmer climates and tempestuous artists. How convenient that one of next year’s Fenimore Art Museum exhibits is Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nickolas Muray.

Nickolas Muray, 1892-1965, American (b. Hungary)
Frida with Nick in her Studio, Coyoacán
Silver gelatin print

Friend, lover, confidant and photographer, Nickolas Muray captured Frida’s style and flash through his portraits. How to echo that in a gallery layout of Muray’s photographs with support graphics and color choices? Time for research! The book I Will Never Forget You: Frida Kahlo and Nickolas Muray explores Nick and Frida’s relationship through their passionate letters and Muray’s vibrant photos.

"Nick darling, I got my wonderful picture you sent me, I find it even more beautiful than in New York. Diego says that it is as marvelous as a Piero de la Francesca. To me it is more than that, it is a treasure, and besides, it will always remind me that morning... [when] we went to your shop to take photos. This one was one of them. And now I have it near me. You will always be inside the magenta rebozo (on the left side).” - Frida Kahlo to Nickolas Muray, 1939

Still not enough! Time to hit Netflix and watch Salma Hayek’s tour de force performance in Frida. This fabulous film brings both Frida and her work to life. It’s a bit of a steamy watch and not for those that blush easily! I wondered how Frida found time to paint with such an active and love life. . .

Finally, time to pour through Judy Chicago’s recent exploration of Frida and her work. Frida Kahlo: Face to Face brings a feminist perspective and new insight to Frida’s paintings and drawings. The book itself is sumptuous with great reproductions of Frida’s work and a beautiful layout in the style of a Mexican retalbo.

Nickolas Muray, 1892-1965, American (b. Hungary)
Frida painting The Two Fridas, Coyoacán
Silver gelatin print

Research results: vibrant colors for the gallery and festive fonts to mirror the feeling of Frida’s life and work as portrayed through Nickolas Muray’s photographs.

Tour Management of Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nickolas Muray is by Smith Kramer Fine Art Services, Kansas City, Missouri

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