Apr 01, 2022
A spring exhibition at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts will celebrate Frida Kahlo (1907–1954) and her botanical imagery and reverence for nature.
Kahlo is considered one of the most significant artists of the 20th century. Her body of work, consisting of some 250 paintings and drawings, is at once intensely personal and universal in scope, and relies heavily on the natural world.
The exhibition “Frida Kahlo’s Garden” transports visitors to Kahlo’s garden to experience her world as she did. It opens Wednesday, April 6, at the Quick Center for the Arts at St. Bonaventure University.
The Quick Center will also host a viewing of the movie “Frida” on Wednesday, April 27, at 7 p.m. in the Rigas Family Theater. The movie, which was released in 2002 and won two Academy Awards, stars Salma Hayek as Kahlo and Alfred Molina as her husband. The screening is free and open to the public.
The garden at Casa Azul (or Blue House), Kahlo’s lifelong home in Coyoacán, Mexico City, was a creative refuge and a source of inspiration for the artist and her husband, Diego Rivera (1886–1957). The garden, which was filled with native plants, housed Kahlo and Rivera’s collection of pre-Hispanic artifacts and folk art displayed on a four-tiered pyramid inspired by the Mesoamerican city of Teotihuacan. This exhibition offers insights into the ways in which the garden at Casa Azul, the diversity of plant life in Mexico, and the rich cultural history of the country nourished the creativity of the world’s great artists.
Often overshadowed by her husband’s career and the traumatic events in her life, the exhibition approaches Kahlo from a different angle, to broaden the discussion of the artist by focusing on the influence of her surrounding environment, both natural and nationalistic. The approach examines her garden, her home, and the revolutionary influences that influenced her life.
Kahlo’s works are filled with colorful and compelling depictions of flowers, foliage and fruits, many native to Mexico. Her choice of botanical imagery reflects the embrace of archetypal Mexican indigenous and natural elements that defined art in the decades following the Mexican Revolution (1910–20). Through her profoundly personal paintings – which convey cultural, spiritual, and intimate messages – her reverence for nature, and her nationalistic fashion sense, Kahlo has become an icon within the artistic world.
Visitors to “Frida Kahlo’s Garden” will explore iconic photographs of the artist and her home and garden, in addition to reproductions of several of her paintings. Also included is information about native Mexican plants that were grown in her garden, a dress from the Mexican state of Oaxaca where Kahlo sourced much of her attire, and examples of folk art collected by Kahlo and Rivera. Additionally, visitors will learn about Mexican culture, including traditional festivities, food and drink, and agricultural practices.
“Frida Kahlo’s Garden” is adapted from the exhibition “FRIDA KAHLO: ART, GARDEN, LIFE” organized by guest curator Adriana Zavala at The New York Botanical Garden.
It was made possible with major funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Karen Katen Foundation, The LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, MetLife Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and Gillian and Robert Steel. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The exhibition runs through May 22. Gallery hours are noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free.
For more information, call the Quick Center at (716) 375-2494 or visit www.sbu.edu/quickexhibitions.
About Mid-America Arts Alliance
Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA) strengthens and supports artists, cultural organizations, and communities throughout our region and beyond. We achieve this primarily through our national traveling exhibition programs, innovative leadership development, and strategic grant making. We are especially committed to enriching the cultural life of historically underserved communities by providing high quality, meaningful, and accessible arts and culture programs and services. We believe in more art for more people. Additional information about M-AAA is available at www.maaa.org.