Artist of the Week: Frida Kahlo

The Two Fridas

About Frida Kahlo:

“With slim sable brushes, Frida Kahlo painstakingly rendered her bold unibrow and mustache in dozens of self-portraits. This same Frida also shaved three years off her age, claiming 1910 to be the year she was born in Coyoacán, Mexico, instead of 1907.

Vanity? Hardly. Frida, always her own favorite model, was not about preserving youthful beauty so much as identifying herself with Mexico, her beloved homeland. Frida’s "acquired birth year” just so happens to coincide with the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution (1910) and the overthrow of President Porfirio Diaz. If her glaring lie seems jarring and incongruous – disturbing, even, in the face of her usual unabashed candor – reflect for a moment on the juxtaposed images that characterize her paintings. Frida never allowed apparent facts – her own birth certificate, for instance – to get in the way of a higher truth; the truth in this case being that she and modern Mexico were inextricably bound in both revolution and renaissance. 

An understanding of Frida Kahlo, the person as well as the paintings, requires a setting aside of conventional thoughts – and dates, as the case may be. At the same time, paradoxically enough, it requires the context of history. She was a revolutionary artist born amidst political chaos in her homeland; born in the year of its own bloody rebirth, give or take a couple years. That image, according to the artist, is more truthful than fact itself. It would be quibbling to disagree.“

Continue reading at: http://www.pbs.org/weta/fridakahlo/life/index.html

Artist of the Week: Mies van der Rohe

“Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969), a German-born architect and educator, is widely acknowledged as one of the 20th century’s greatest architects. By emphasizing open space and revealing the industrial materials used in construction, he helped define modern architecture.

Born in Aachen, Germany, Mies spent the first half of his career in his native country. His early work was mainly residential, and he received his first independent commission, the Riehl House, when he was only 20 years old. Mies quickly became a leading figure in the avant-garde life of Berlin and was widely respected in Europe for his innovative structures, including the Barcelona Pavilion. In 1930, he was named director of the Bauhaus, the renowned German school of experimental art and design, which he led until 1933 when he closed the school under pressure from the Nazi Regime.

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