Happy Birthday to Frida Kahlo, born today in 1907. Kahlo pushed the boundaries as a female, politically active artist during her career. Often associated with the Surrealist movement, Kahlo defied stylistic definition and befriended many artists including Marcel Duchamp, André Breton, and Pablo Picasso. She used personal tragedy and injury to create deeply provocative paintings that reference her Mexican heritage as well as her journey as an artist. To this day, Kahlo’s life and works are iconic and well-known across the world.

Frida Kahlo,” March 19, 1932, by Carl Van Vechten

Marcel Duchamp was born today in 1887. The title of this artwork is an instruction to the viewer: To Be Looked at (from the Other Side of the Glass) with One Eye, Close to, for Almost an Hour. The experience is said to produce a hallucinatory effect. 

[Marcel Duchamp. To Be Looked at (from the Other Side of the Glass) with One Eye, Close to, for Almost an Hour. Buenos Aires 1918.]

The fact of choosing, of selecting, and deciding on one, was the result of being very careful about not using my sense of beauty or my belief in some aesthetics of some kind. In other words, finding some object of complete indifference, as far as aesthetics are concerned. And that indifference is very difficult, because there is always some detail in any object that will attract you, aesthetically. Meaning that you will find it beautiful, or even ugly. —Marcel Duchamp, talking to Martin Friedman, Walker Art Center director (1961-1990), about the readymade. 

Marcel Duchamp, Box in a Valise (Boîte-en-Valise) 1935-41 (contents); 1938 (collotype); deluxe edition, Series A, 1943

Brown leather valise with handle containing sixty-nine miniature replicas and printed reproductions and one original, Virgin (No. 2), 1938, hand-colored collotype
Valise (closed): 16 x 14 ¾ x 4 ¼ inches (40.6 x 37.5 x 10.8 cm)

© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris / Estate of Marcel Duchamp

Philadelphia Museum of Art.