Friday, September 05, 2008

Frisco Road Trip, Pt. 9: The Point of It All

The genesis of this road trip, as I mentioned in Part 1, was when I heard that a large exhibition of the work of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo was going to make an appearance at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. When I mentioned this to our friends Tom and Judy, who live not far from SF, we decided to go to the show together. Which worked for us because Tom happens to be a professor of Latin American history and could give us a historical blow-by-blow of the pieces.

Suffice it to say that both the scope and depth of the work that was shown was mind-boggling. And very complete. As someone who's been reading and studying her work for years, there were pieces there I'd never seen before, and some, like the painting "A Few Little Nips," that was painted after Frida discovered her husband, painter Diego Rivera, had an affair with her younger sister, that I'd seen but hadn't realized the full impact of the work.

It's size, which is may 10" wide by 8" high, is set in a simple wood frame that is covered with what are supposed to be bloody fingerprints (photo, left). It illustrates a sensational murder of the time, around 1935, when a husband murdered his wife, his excuse being that it was just a few little nips.

But in books they'd shown only the painting itself, not the bloody, gouged frame, which adds a huge dimension of meaning and impact to the work. And is the reason to go see an artist's original works whenever you can.

Details: Frida Kahlo at the San Francisco Museum of Art, through Sun., Sept. 28. Tickets $20.50. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 151 Third Street between Mission and Howard Sts., San Francisco, CA. Phone 415-357-4000.

Read the other posts in this series: Getting There, Paying Our Respects, Resting in Redding, Schmoozing in Sacto, Home Away from Home, Off on the Right Foot, Choosing Chinese, The Ferry and the Hog and The Last Meal. 

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