Published: April 30, 2002
NEW YORK CITY – El Museo del Barrio, New York’s premiere Latino and Latin American cultural institution, will host the only East Coast presentation of “Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Twentieth Century Mexican Art: The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection.” Featuring more than 100 of the most significant examples of Mexican Modernism, this nationally touring exhibition explores the artistic vigor and striking imagery that emerged from the politically-charged social and cultural landscape of Mexico between the 1910s and 1950s.
Included in the exhibition are rarely viewed pieces by painter Frida Kahlo and muralist Diego Rivera. The exhibition will be on view at El Museo del Barrio from April 28 through September 8. A public celebration will be held at El Museo on Sunday, April 28, from 2 pm to 5 pm, with free admission offered.
The paintings, drawings and photographs on view in “Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Twentieth Century Mexican Art” are drawn from the celebrated collection of the late cinematic mogul Jacques Gel-man and his wife, Natasha, who moved to Mexico City in the early 1940s and amassed a collection admired for its breadth and quality. The exhibition features the best of the Gelman collection, with outstanding works by a broad range of artists.
Each piece offers a glimpse into pre- and post-Revolutionary Mexican life and culture while also exploring the artists’ personal struggles and triumphs. In addition to major oils by Kahlo and Rivera, the exhibition also features studies for murals by Jose Clemente Orozco, works by David Alfaro Siqueiros and paintings by Surrealists Maria Izquierdo and Leonora Carrington.
The exhibition has attracted record numbers of viewers at the Dallas Museum of Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; and the Phoenix Art Museum. Following its presentation at El Museo del Barrio, the exhibition will travel to the Seattle Art Museum.
The exhibition at El Museo del Barrio will include more than 100 works, all created by masters of Mexican art. Highlights include 10 exquisite paintings by Kahlo, including self-portraits, still lifes and portraits of both Mrs Gelman and Diego Rivera. Of particular interest are rarely seen works such as “Autorretrato con collar” (Self-Portrait with Necklace, 1953), a rendering of the artist as a young woman, and “Diego en mi pensamiento” (Diego on My Mind, 1943), in which her husband, Diego Rivera, is superimposed on her forehead.
Additionally, nine works by Rivera will be exhibited, including “Ultima hora” (The Last Hour, 1915), created while the artist lived in Paris and experimented with the Cubism of Pablo Picasso and George Braque. Rivera is also represented in the exhibition by a sumptuous portrait of Natasha Gelman reclining amidst lilies, entitled, “Retrato de la Senora Natasha Gelman” (Portrait of Mrs Natasha Gelman, 1943).
Other highlights of the exhibition include landscapes by Roberto Montenegro; evocative still lifes of Juan Soriano; semiabstract paintings by Carlos Merida and Gunther Gerzso; images by Maria Izquierdo that celebrates Mexican traditions; socially charged scenes of Jose Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros; and whimsical, colorful figures of Rufino Tamayo.
A full schedule of educational programs that promote understanding and dialogue about Mexican art and culture will accompany the exhibition. Highlights include Cinco de Mayo Family Day, an all-day open house for families and community participants on Sunday, May 5, in celebration of the most important national holiday in Mexico. The event will feature arts and crafts projects for children, musical performances and the debut screening of a new documentary film about Mexican traditional culture, The Sentinels of the Earth, by award-winning anthropologist and filmmaker Judith Gleason.
On Saturday, May 11, El Museo will host “Frida!” a lecture conducted by Hayden Herrera, a leading Kahlo scholar and author who introduced the artist to United States audiences with a groundbreaking biography.
In addition, El Museo is launching a film and concert, “Summer Nights at El Museo.” Sponsored by JPMorgan Chase, “Summer Nights at El Museo” will offer, on alternating Thursdays from June 6 through September 5, free weekly screenings of Mexican films in El Museo’s Teatro Heckscher and live music with Latin bands in El Museo’s courtyard.
El Museo del Barrio is at 1230 Fifth Avenue at 104th Street. Museum hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 11 am to 5 pm; Thursday, 5 to 9 pm. For information, www.elmuseo.org or 212-831-7272.
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