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5.8.04

Get Your Frida Kahlo™ Unibrow Here

Regular readers will recall me mentioning the exhibit in Mexico to honor the 50th anniversary of Frida Kahlo's death (see post on June 15). Well, I still haven't read much about that anywhere else but here. Now it turns out that, as Patrick Gouy informs me in this article (La Fridamania, July 29) in Le Point, there are accessories to go along with the exhibit (my translation):

Frida Kahlo's heirs have decided to profit from the growing Fridamania. On the occasion of the retrospective of her works in Mexico City for the 50th anniversary of her death, her niece Isolda Pinedo has created a line of exotic jewelry, luxury clothing, and accessories in the artist's name. Launched by a superb fashion show of models who are the painter's perfect doubles, the commercial brand has unleashed criticism, because Frida, an early feminist, is one of the icons of Mexican culture. For her defenders, Frida is becoming a scandalously commercial entity, and there is fear that she will become a sort of Mexican Che Guevara, meaning that her admirers would use her image without knowing anything about her life. To justify itself, the Kahlo family has insisted that the creation of this line was intended to regulate the abusive utilization of Frida Kahlo's name and that it was respecting the artist's personality by marketing products similar to those she used to wear in order to affirm her status as a liberated woman.
Do they have a large chest pendant in the shape of a pulsating heart? Or a forehead-sized image of Diego Rivera that would join your eyebrows together? Or a thorn necklace with hummingbird? I'm sure this stuff is flying off the shelves.

2 comments:

stephanie said...

i am a frida fanatic, and i'll admit that my mom bought me a pair of frida earrings from this artist in el paso that i wear every day, however i agree that to an extent the commercialization of frida kahlo is becoming insane--i live in minnesota and there is currently a Frida exhibit at the Walker Arts Center here--well, i went, and in the gift shop there is everything from a frida umbrella to frida and diego paperdolls where frida is built like a barbie doll with a unibrow, to a soft frida doll dressed in princess clothes...considering frida's involvement in the socialist movement, i have difficulty believing that the people making and selling this stuff have her best interest in mind or quite frankly care if they're respecting her or not...so what i'm saying is, i think that there is a difference between, say, the earrings i wear each and every day made by an artist in el paso and the corporation that somehow determined a bikini-clad, hourglass frida was crucial to go along with her exhibition.

hiala2000 said...

I have also been an admirer of Frida Kahlo for many years. Although I would also be offended by any disrespectful use of her image, I don't think that there is anything wrong with many items employing her image, especially if they are designed artfully and with respect. I have seen the Frida umbrella, and I think it is beautiful. As you may note, it was made with an image of Frida from one of her most famous self-portraits..with permission of the Museo of Bellas Artes in Mexico. Frankly, I think it would have given her great pleasure to see her art displayed for everyone to see, even for those who may not be able to afford the admission or travel to a museum where her art is exhibited.