Until 5 October at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Unbound: Contemporary Art After Frida Kahlo showcases the work of contemporary artists in response to work by the iconic artist. In 1978, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago presented Kahlo’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States, this collection features two of the works included in the original 1978 exhibition.
This collection draws work from artists that share Kahlo’s spirit of rebellion and using four themes highlighted in in Kahlo’s paintings including the performance of gender, issues of national identity, the political body, and the absent or traumatized body. It can be argued that posthumously Frida Kahlo’s work has been turned into a stereotype of Latin American art and that this defeats the message that she originally conveyed. Her work is often confrontational and her celebrity status has somewhat over shadowed this. Her work was about challenging the bourgeois European mainstream and the revolutionary intent of her work can sometimes be lost.
The highly relevant topics of post colonialism, feminism, civil rights, multiculturalism, and globalization are as relevant today as they were in the 1960s and her work that challenged the patriarchal society is celebrated here alongside the work of artists including Francis Alÿs and Enrique Huerta,Nelson Leirner, José Leonilson, Celia Alvarez Muñoz, Helio Oiticica, Catherine Opie, Gabriel Orozco,Daniela Rossell, Doris Salcedo, Cindy Sherman, Lorna Simpson, and Valeska Soares.
As part of this programme on 28 June art historian Hayden Herrera, author of Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo, will conduct a discussion on Frida Kahlo’s life and work with a focus on her legacy and the work of the contemporary artists on display in conjunction with her work.
Unbound: Contemporary Art After Frida Kahlo, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago 220 East Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60611 until 5 October www.mcachicago.org
1. Lorna Simpson, She, (1992),Color Polaroids and engraved Plexiglas plaque, 29 x 85 1/4 x 2 in. (73.7 x 216.5 x 5.1 cm)
Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of Judith Neisser, 1996.3.a–e © 1992 Lorna Simpson Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago