Frida Kahlo and Arte Popular
Museum of Fine Arts Boston, 2022
How Kahlo collected, celebrated and depicted Mexican folk arts in both her painting and her persona.
The visionary and supremely self-fashioning artist Frida Kahlo (1907–54) drew inspiration throughout her career from arte popular—painted ceramics, embroidered textiles, religious votives, effigies and children’s toys, and other objects created in Mexico’s rural and Indigenous communities. The hundreds of folk-art objects that filled her home and studio attest to her nationalist politics and her fascination with the work of carvers, weavers, sculptors of papier-mâché and vernacular painters. She depicted these objects in her paintings and adopted elements of traditional dress and ornament in her own self-presentation, playing on modernist fascination with folk culture and on her own relation to layered Mexican identity.
This bilingual book, the first in-depth exploration of Kahlo’s varied and sophisticated responses to arte popular, situates her within the broad artistic and intellectual movements of her time, examines her professional ambitions and illuminates the innovative techniques she used in her lifelong encounter, both playful and powerful, with the folk art of Mexico.