Frida Kahlo: The Original Self-Brander | Phoenix, AZ
If Instagram had been around during Frida’s time, I’m convinced she would have had the most followers. While everyone else was plucking their eyebrows into haughty arches and dramatically curling their hair to imitate 40s Hollywood glam, Frida sported a unibrow (who can pull this off even now?!) and plaited her hair into a crown, adorning it with statement flowers and colorful ribbons. She created a bold and unique self-image that represented her solidarity with the Mexican Revolution, while at the same time elevating her self-brand of a beautiful, colorful, and unique force. The image she created was methodically reinforced through her numerous self-portraits and the dissemination of photographs of her wearing indigenous Mexican textiles and donning her dramatic hairstyle. She was and continues to be, by all definitions of the word, a brand. It’s hard to define where her image and her art separate, even now, because they were so closely woven together in her life; it’s far easier to contemplate her art and her essence as one.
Despite Diego being the more famous artist, photographers were enamored with Frida. She impressively possessed the ability to captivate both as a muse and as a creator. Even at the Heard Museum's exhibit titled, Frida & Diego, Frida steals the show. While they were alive, it may have seemed like Frida's life revolved around Diego, and perhaps it did. She certainly felt that way as evidenced by her painting, "The Love Embrace of the Universe, the Earth (Mexico), Diego, Me, and Senor Xolotl" in which she holds Diego, in the form of a baby, while she posits herself in the role of the Virgin Mary, cradling her baby husband. She needed to take care of him. She was bound to him in ways that transcended earthy relationships.
But 63 years after her death, she takes the role of protagonist and Diego assumes a supporting role. Her tumultuous life, their many lovers and their dysfunctional, yet enduring partnership shaped her art. Her image on the other hand, seemed to be wholly her own. And perhaps that's why we all adore her so much.
The exhibit at the Heard Museum does a fantastic job representing Frida & Diego's complex relationship and is 100% worth the $25 entry fee. You'll leave inspired and appreciative of the great creatives in the world; and you'll take the best selfie you'll take all summer, which is surprisingly and gleefully fitting for one of the pioneers of self-branding. (Scroll down to see our portrait session in front of the "Selfie Station" aka a wall of brightly colored crepe paper flowers).
Frida Forever <3
Want to experience Frida + Diego for yourself?
Hours: Monday to Saturday9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.Sunday11 a.m. to 5 p.m.First Fridays
Free general admission from 6 to 10 p.m. (specially ticketed exhibitions/events are extra)
Admission: $18 for general admission for an adult; $7 extra for the Frida + Diego exhibit
We recommend buying your tickets online beforehand.
Exhibit goes through August 20th, 2017.