Frida Kahlo Exhibit Opens At Brooklyn Museum

Nickolas Muray. Friday on Bench, 1939. ©Nikolas Muray Photo Archives.

For the first time in the United States, Frid Kahlo’s works and personal belongings from La Casa Azul with muralist Diego Rivera are accessible on view at the Brooklyn Museum. The exhibition called “Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving” delves into the life of the survivor, a true feminist, an artist, and finally a well rounded, timeless culture icon.

Kahlo, constantly suffering, first from polio and then a bus accident, was also in a constant battle with herself and her own image denouncing religion, accepting communism, and trying to figure herself out. She was in a constant existential crisis, very relatable to modern day millennials. Constantly studying herself by painting self-portraits, she unknowingly left behind a track of pop culture and would now be considered quite the influencer (she has over 800k followers on Instagram alone.)


Nickolas Muray. Frida in New York, 1946, printed in 2006. Brooklyn Museum. ©Nikolas Muray Photo Archives.

Depicting herself with perfectly manicured nails, a well-tamed canvas in her Tehuana braid, groomed unibrow, and her Oaxacan clothing, Frida Kahlo surely made an impression even mid-century. Photographers loved her, and thanks to them we have so much documentation of the woman. But Kahlo and Rivera also took care of their legacy locking away all their belongings until 15 years after Rivera’s death. The inventory was only properly unsealed in 2004 and finally exhibited permanently at La Casa Azul in Coyoacan, Mexico City.


Frida Kahlo. Self-Portrait with a Necklace, 1933. Oil on metal, 13 3/4 x 11in. The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of 20th Century Mexican Art and the Vergel Foundation. © 2019 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. 

The exhibit includes Kahlo’s dresses as well as accessories and even her favored Revlon makeup. Her corsets are also on display from her various accidents– some painted and others simply for aesthetics. Family photos, as well as drawings, give the exhibit a certain intimate feel.

The highlight of the exhibit are the self-portraits and the still life paintings. She poses with monkeys and paints herself in men’s attire, and also paints fruits and animals with metaphoric meaning. With such exclusive pieces outside of Mexico City, it is time for one of Kahlo’s personal favorite cities to take a peek into her life and work too.


Lucienne Bloch, Frida Kahlo at the Barbizon Plaza Hotel, New York, 1933. The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of the 20th Century Mexican Art and the Vergel Foundation. ©Lucienne Akkeb dba Ikd Stage Studios.

“Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving” at Brooklyn Museum. Running through May 12. Timed tickets $20–$25, untimed $35.