Stories of appearances with Frida Kahlo and Nari Ward

Histoires d’apparences avec Frida Kahlo et Nari Ward

Photo: The Speed Art Museum
Nari Ward, “We the People”, 2011. In collaboration with the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia.

The art museums of the Big Apple are they in the process of calling into question the western standards — the artist male and white — that dominate the history of art ? These days, the Guggenheim gives pride of place to a woman in the history of abstract art.

The Metropolitan Museum trace him as a portrait revisited the epic of the abstraction — Jackson Pollock Carmen Herrera — giving visibility to many women, but also to non-Americans, a Japanese, a Hungarian, a Cuban… Puts Breuer devotes its walls to an Italian, Lucio Fontana, and an american artist of iranian origin, Siah Armajani.

Things would be-they are finally in the process of moving ? And for good ? Recall that, in the 1980s and 1990s, we already had the feeling that women artists — living and dead — were finally their place in the museums — with, among others, the consecration of Louise Bourgeois.

It was also the time when Jean-Michel Basquiat became the first black artist to get the glory in the West. But in the past few years, they tend rather to look for the women and cultural minorities in solos or retrospective worthy of the name.

At The Brooklyn Museum

Appearances can be deceiving. This is the title of the exhibition on the artist mexico Frida Kahlo which has just opened at the Brooklyn Museum. It deals with the image she has created, but it could also be read as a commentary on the museums of our days.

Are we in the incorporation of women and minorities in order to give a good image and/or a good awareness of the institutions, or is it really a cultural revolution that is shaking the canons of art ?

Histoires d’apparences avec Frida Kahlo et Nari Ward

Photo: Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D. F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Frida Kahlo, “appearances can be deceiving”, drawing, not dated

Kahlo is not a new entrant in the museums in the United States. In 2008, the Philadelphia Museum of art he spent already a retrospective major that we had the pleasure of seeing. For this event new york that is very popular — tickets are selling like hotcakes, the field of study has been ” expanded “. The expo shows off a multitude of photos and films, a wide range of dresses as well as several corsets of leather, metal and plaster that was Kahlo, a victim of polio, and a very serious bus accident. These images, dresses and objects are presented in order to compensate for the fact that there are few paintings on display — 11 in total, compared to more than 40 during the retrospective in Philadelphia ?

This expo is in fact a version of the one developed by the Museum Kahlo of Mexico, presentation on tour since 2012, and which then bore a subtitle is illuminating :” The Dresses of Frida Kahlo “. This is not the first time that a museum is used of the clothing of the artist to broaden the understanding of his work, but also of his artistic identity.

In this same Brooklyn Museum, it was just two years old, was a retrospective Georgia O’keeffe, who would have shaped his image through photographs and her clothes… Kahlo wore huipils, kind of tunics square without the handle in the region of Tehuantepec — an area they only visited never — resplandors, kind of caps or seals from fabric developed for weddings or religious ceremonies, rebozos

As well, she participated in the Mexicanidad movement, which celebrated with pride in the mexican culture old while building a new image.

The art museums are less often focused on the links between the work of artists males and their dress code or their image by exposing their wardrobe. The history of art is in the process of integrating the arts known as minors of the garment that women were more often performed or is in the process of reducing the art of these women in a fashion ? Presentation of the collapse of the boundaries between what is considered great art and the popular arts in order to produce a total art or a reduction of the art of women in their lives ?

And at the New Museum ?

We the people ” : it is with these words begins the Constitution of the United States, text transcribed by hand on parchment in 1787. It is also the title of this exhibition, and a major part of the work of Nari Ward presented at the New Museum. Born in 1963 in Jamaica, Ward, who lives in the United States since he was 12 years old, and that has made the city of New York, and particularly in the neighborhood of Harlem, his preferred subject, finally has his first solo in a museum in Manhattan.

And this, despite a route requiring which includes the presentation of his works at the Venice Biennale (1993), at the Documenta in Kassel (2002), the Biennale of the Whitney (2006)… Ward among other know by this piece We the People, transcript of this statement on a wall with the help of shoe laces of different colors.

This work is about the cultural diversity that America should embody. It was time that we devoted to it in this retrospective.

Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving / Nari Ward: We the People

At the Brooklyn Museum in New York, until may 12, / At the New Museum in New York, until 26 may