I suggest to all my New York friends or those visiting the Big Apple this weekend to squeeze in some leisure time. Head out towards the Bronx for a highly recommended treat- the Frida Kahlo Exhibit at the New York Botanical Gardens!
It was a wonderful dream come true to see more of my favorite painter’s works in person. I applaud NYBG ‘s huge step in recreating Frida’s former house now turned museum. The time and effort in putting this beautiful exhibition together fills my heart with a joy that being in the rare presence of Frida could bring. I have only seen the painting at the National Women’s Gallery in D.C. and the one in MoMa.
Nothing prepared me fully for the breadth of Frida, of the awaiting expansion ready to cling to mind like an unforgotten perfume.
Inside the open space replica of Casa Azul, flowers and greenery native to Frida’s lively environment decorate along a wide pathway paved in splendid riches. It feels like a blessing to be an excited spectator, breathing such a welcoming air of wonder and delight. Her very essence, her very soul nurtured the fragrant bloom in the hot garden house where her native treasures blossomed around each awed visitor. In one area, rests a mock Frida studio. Powders, empty painting medium jars, a palette, and mirrors rest on an old desk, showing a glimpse into the world of a truly gifted artist.
Honestly, my eyes watered throughout the whole entire journey.
The LuEsther T. Mertz Library’s art gallery houses fourteen works that illustrate Frida’s adoration of plants and her intricate mastery of rendering their forms. Poignancy, pain, sensuality, lust, hunger…. so many emotional and physical currents driving together. Thinly applied layers on the surface reveal such a direct opposition to the difficulties occurring in Frida’s life. From polio at a young age to the trolley accident to Diego Rivera, Frida always battled and triumphed over hardships, drawing and painting in only the way she knew how– with profound at times candid honesty.
Notable works remembered:
Portrait of Luther Burbank
Fruits of the Earth
Two Nudes in a Forest
Self Portrait with Necklace of Thorns
Sun and Life
Still Life with Parrot and Fruit
On the fourth floor, artist-in-residence, Humberto Spindola’s Los Fridas is a three dimensional sculpture depicting one of Frida’s most famous paintings. Tinted tissue paper is his primary medium.
“The garments are displayed on seated dress forms crafted from reeds that have been molded into human forms.”
Overall, NYBG does Frida justice. It’s an amazing landscape to revel in. To take comfort in the paradise of flowers and love and allow an intense longing burst forth the seams.
Also before leaving the gift shop features books, paper dolls, souvenirs, t-shirts, purses and more. Find something for that Frida Kahlo lover in your life. Me for example. Just kidding…..
Anyways, please go see the exhibit and explore the gardens. Frida will make your imagination soar high above tragedy and rest in the twisted madness of luscious fruits and wild flowers.