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Now Open: A Stunning Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Mexican Modernism Exhibition Has Arrived in Australia

In an Aussie exclusive — and the nation's most comprehensive Mexican Modernism exhibition — the Art Gallery of South Australia is showcasing more than 150 works.
By Sarah Ward
June 26, 2023
By Sarah Ward
June 26, 2023

When 2023 first kicked in, it brought a multi-sensory Frida Kahlo installation Down Under, letting art lovers in Sydney immerse themselves in the iconic Mexican artist's works. Consider that exhibition the appetiser before the main meal that is Frida & Diego: Love & Revolution: a huge winter-long tribute to Kahlo, her well-known spouse Diego Rivera and the entire Mexican modernism movement, which is now on display in Adelaide.

Open at the Art Gallery of South Australia since Saturday, June 24, running until Sunday, September 17 and one of the venue's headlining exhibition for 2023, this showcase is sizeable. Visitors can currently see more than 150 works, spanning everything from paintings and photographs to works on paper and period clothing, as drawn from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection.

Frida & Diego: Love & Revolution has two key aims: examining why Kahlo's work, and Kahlo herself, holds such enduring appeal; and placing Kahlo and Rivera's art in context with their contemporaries.

"'Each generation brings a new lens to the profoundly inspiring figure that is Frida Kahlo. A 21st-century muse, Kahlo is today revered as a feminist and as a singular political and creative force. Frida & Diego: Love & Revolution speaks to the influence and ingenuity of art practice in Mexico and aims to recontextualise the enduring allure of Kahlo within today's society," said AGSA Director Rhana Devenport ONZM.

"These iconic paintings from the extraordinary Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection form the heart of this exhibition. Close friends of Kahlo and Rivera, the Gelmans were pioneering collectors who formed an outstanding collection of works foregrounding Mexican modernism," adds Tansy Curtin, AGSA's Curator of International Art, Pre-1980s.

Amid suitably colourful walls, attendees can also spy large-scale reproductions of folk art-heavy Rivera's murals. Another highlight: exploring Kahlo and Rivera's home life and artistic practice, as inspired by their La Casa Azul house and studio.

That said, while Kahlo, Rivera, and their art, connection, politics and influence all sit at the centre of this wide-ranging showcase, it also highlights pieces by Manuel and Lola Álvarez Bravo, Miguel Covarrubias, María Izquierdo, Carlos Mérida, David Alfaro Siqueiros and more — as any survey of Mexican modernism should and must.

Focusing on the first half of the 20th century, this an Australian-exclusive exhibition, too — meaning that you'll have to go to Adelaide to see it — as well as most comprehensive exhibition of Mexican modernism that the country has ever seen.

Unsurprisingly, South Australia expects it to be a big tourist attraction. Accordingly, Frida & Diego: Love & Revolution is being accompanied by a series of events, and not just at AGSA, to cater for locals and travellers alike. Think: clay and cocktails sessions, making paper-cut flowers in the traditional Mexican decorative craft style, a dining experience to mark Mexican Independence Day, Mexican-themed menus at Adelaide restaurants and a La Casa Azul installation in Rundle Mall.

Frida & Diego: Love & Revolution is on display at the Art Gallery of South Australia until Sunday, September 17, 2023. For more information or to buy tickets, head to the AGSA website.

Images: installation view: Frida & Diego: Love & Revolution, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; photos: Saul Steed.

Published on June 26, 2023 by Sarah Ward
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