Photographs of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera Create Portrait of Their Lives Together

Photo of Frida Kahlo and Diego RiveraAn exhibition of photographs of the Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, on loan from the Consulado de México en Milwaukee, will be on view in the Fourth Floor Exhibition Gallery of the UWM Golda Meir Library, 2311 E. Hartford Ave. from September 17 to October 12, 2018.


The exhibit provides a window into the lives of Kahlo and Rivera through photographs taken of them over the years by friends, family, and colleagues (including well-known photographers), showing the two in public, in their home, with family, political figures, and other artists.


Books drawn from the Special and General collections of the UWM Libraries complement the images.


An opening reception for “Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: An Exhibition of Photographs” will be held at 4:00 p.m., followed by a brief program and a screening of The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo at 5:00 p.m., in the fourth floor Conference Center of the UWM Golda Meir Library, 2311 E. Hartford Ave., on Thursday, September 20, 2018. After the screening there will be a talk-back about the film.


Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera may be the most influential artists in the history of Mexico. Their works were inspired by their dramatic marriage, activism/socialism, and personal tragedies, as well as their Mexican heritage and history.


This exhibition offers a glimpse into their lives as both public and private figures, providing a chance for us to see their art in a new and more personal way than we might otherwise be able to.


These two intriguing artists spent their lives together and influenced each other’s art. Kahlo’s shattering traffic accident at age eighteen and her close but troubled relationship with Rivera resulted in the expression of complex feelings about herself and the world through her works.


Diego Rivera, a muralist, was one of the most important artists in the twentieth-century Mexico, as well as the United States, where he created frescoes in San Francisco, Detroit, and New York City. He expressed his emotions and political opinions in his drawings, paintings, and murals.


The pair’s active political involvement is also evident in their works—both were active Communists and had connections to major party leaders not only in Mexico but also worldwide. The values of their socialist beliefs often seep into the motifs of their art, such as Rivera’s murals in Detroit that focus on and celebrate the working class.


This exhibition was curated by Special Collections graduate intern and UWM Art History graduate student Youngchul Shin, and is a collaboration between Consulado de México en Milwaukee, the UWM Roberto Hernandez Center, and the UWM Libraries, with support from UWM Cultures and Communities.