The colorful works of Mexico’s most renowned artists come to Phoenix this month.

Art Break: Frida & Diego at Heard Museum

Written by Isabella Castillo Category: Arts Issue: April 2017
Group Free

On April 11, Heard Museum will welcome the world-touring exhibit Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: From the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection in its only scheduled North American stop in more than a decade.

“This is what people are waiting for,” says Heard Museum director of design and marketing Caesar Chaves.

The exhibit will feature paintings by Kahlo and Rivera, as well as photographs, letters, clothing and jewelry belonging to the tempestuous spouses, displayed in the expansive new Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Grand Gallery. The special exhibit runs until August 20 and will require an additional fee at the door.

The collection includes Kahlo’s iconic 1943 painting “Self-Portrait with Monkeys,” one of many stoic self-portraits. Critics speculate that the monkeys are symbolic of either her four most loyal students, known as “Fridos,” or the children she was unable to bear because of health complications.
Kahlo’s painting “Diego On My Mind (Self-Portrait as a Tehuana)” is a perfect representation of her surreal yet literal style. “She’s known as a surrealist, but I don’t think she’d call herself a surrealist,” Chaves says, citing Kahlo’s famed quote: “I paint my reality.” The portrait is also indicative of Kahlo’s complicated relationship with her artist husband.
Lilies are a frequent theme in Rivera’s work, and the large-scale oil painting “Calla Lily Vendor” (1943) illustrates his deep appreciation for the people of Mexico and their way of life.
2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
— Isabella Castillo