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Doc solves mystery of Frida Kahlo’s infertility

Posted by on Apr 22, 2012 in Frida Kahlo, News | 0 comments

Doc solves mystery of Frida Kahlo’s infertility

When Dr. Fernando Antelo looks at “The Broken Column,” one of many self-portraits depicting artist Frida Kahlo’s chronic pain and health problems, he feels like he’s having a conversation with a colleague as well as a patient. The piece, painted shortly after Kahlo underwent spinal surgery at around age 37, shows the artist, who had taken pre-med courses in high school, encased in a body brace. The flesh down the middle of her neck, chest and abdomen is missing, exposing a broken column where her spine should be. Nails pierce her face and body as tears stream down her cheeks. “I see her as a patient wanting to tell me about her symptoms, and at the same time I see her advanced knowledge, her ability to tell me about it as another physician would,” Antelo says. “Seeing that painting made me want to ask more questions.” A surgical pathologist at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, Antelo decided to investigate why Kahlo, who died in 1954 at age 47, suffered numerous miscarriages and underwent at least three therapeutic abortions. “I think it’s one of those things where we owe it to Frida,” says Antelo, noting that many of Kahlo’s paintings contain images related to reproduction and fertility, but only historians, not doctors, have delved into why the artist was unable to have a baby. Articles in the medical literature have focused on her chronic pain and orthopedic and neurological issues. Antelo’s conclusion, which he presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Association of Anatomists in San Diego, is that Kahlo suffered from a rare condition called Asherman’s syndrome. First described in 1894, Asherman’s syndrome occurs when the lining of the uterus, or endometrium, is damaged and scar tissue forms. In most cases today, it results from repeated dilatation and curettage (commonly known as D & C), a procedure used to clear out the uterine cavity after childbirth, miscarriage or abortion. Today, doctors treat the condition by peering into the uterus with a special magnifying camera on the end of a tube and carefully removing the scar tissue. But even if Kahlo had been diagnosed, Antelo says, “with the technology that they had then, they really couldn’t treat it.” Kahlo’s condition originated with a streetcar accident when she was a teenager, according to the surgical pathologist. A metal handrail penetrated her abdomen, severely damaging the skeletal framework and internal organs, including her uterus. Among other things, the accident dashed her dream of attending medical school. “She kept attempting to have children with a uterus that wasn’t in any condition to do that,” he says, and the resulting therapeutic abortions and miscarriages likely exacerbated her Asherman’s syndrome. While numerous historians have offered reasons for Kahlo’s infertility, none of them have connected it to the streetcar accident, Antelo writes in his abstract. Some colleagues have suggested that Kahlo’s inability to carry a pregnancy to term stemmed from a problem with the fetus or maybe a blood disorder, he says.  “There could be other contributing factors,” Antelo acknowledges, “but in my mind, this has got to be a key thing. We have major injury to the uterus.” By Rita Rubin...

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The murals of Diego Rivera: A journey of color, class and conscience

Posted by on Feb 26, 2012 in News | 0 comments

The murals of Diego Rivera: A journey of color, class and conscience

NEW YORK — “Diego Rivera: Murals for the Museum of Modern Art” on display at MoMA through May 14 is about colors and class and conflict. It’s a journey into history and imagination. Most of all: It ventures deeply into the conscience of one of the century’s most provocative artists. The Rivera exhibit takes us places, inspires reflection. As such: It’s a travel experience of the highest order. Rivera — painter, dreamer, Mexican; child of affluence; champion of Communism; “a revolutionary with a paintbox” — lived from 1886 to 1957. Yet the frescoes in the MoMA exhibit, created in 1931 and 1932, send messages that flare beyond the bounds of time. They reference the Age of the Aztecs, Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, New York of the 1930s and, by the extension of their social themes, the Occupy Wall Street movement of today. As this exhibit makes clear, Rivera loved New York. He loved machines and construction. He loved the notion of New York as urban utopia, ultra-modern, ultra-technological, built by empowered American workers. Yet Rivera’s urban romanticism bumps hard against his humanitarian conscience. In “Frozen Assets” — one of the most engaging frescoes of the exhibit — Rivera presents a glittering New York skyline juxtaposed against masses of unemployed workers in a wharf-side dormitory and an underground bank vault in which the elite store their riches. Skyline. Strata. The secret story. Rivera wrote, soon afterward, about his desire to illuminate “the continuous struggle between the privileged and the dispossessed.” Eighty years later, Rivera’s preoccupation is at the very heart of current events in America. ‘Diego Rivera: Murals for the Museum of Modern Art” references — and reunites, conceptually — eight “portable” murals the Mexican painter created for a major Rivera retrospective at MoMA in 1931. It was a big event in its day: 150 pieces in all — “oils, pastels, watercolors, black and whites,” as Rivera remembered it — featuring a living artist at the peak of his powers. Rivera believed in murals, loved the public nature of fresco art, thought America the perfect place for such a form. But while paintings were easy to assemble for a retrospective show … it was impossible for New Yorkers in 1931 to see his best murals in person. What to do? In the end, Rivera and MoMA decided he would produce five portable, transportable frescoes — huge stone “snapshots” from his famous Mexican murals, focusing on themes of conflict and power. What’s more, he would create three new portable frescoes with New York themes. The most familiar of these images, “Agrarian Leader Zapata” — Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, holding the bridle of a glorious white horse as he stands over the dead body of its privileged owner — opens the window to the exhibit. There’s no character in the entire exhibit more beautiful, more alive in the eyes, more glorious in form, than the white horse in this first fresco. The prize. As curator Leah Dickerman points out right away, Rivera’s Mexican murals are about power relationships: Workers raise their fists against armed police; an Aztec slays a conquistador; indentured servants haul sugar cane under the control of hacienda owners. The white horse in this 8-foot-tall fresco is the only central image depicted in the Mexican murals that is not directly...

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Short Film Celebrates 75th Anniversary of Mural Painting Made by Diego Rivera

Posted by on Dec 8, 2011 in News | 0 comments

Short Film Celebrates 75th Anniversary of Mural Painting Made by Diego Rivera

The film produced by Martin Garcia-Urtiaga was premiered at MNA with the presence of Consuelo Saizar, president of the National Council for Culture and the Arts (Conaculta), who mentioned that the decision of supporting this work was based in the fact that it fulfills the objectives of the cultural project of the organism she presides.

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Diego Rivera Retakes it’s place at MOMA

Posted by on Nov 10, 2011 in Collections, History, Murals, News | 0 comments

Diego Rivera Retakes it’s place at MOMA

By Rafael Mathus CORRESPONDENT NEW YORK .-  After 80 years, Diego Rivera returned yesterday to claim a star on the walls of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and revive a message that despite the passage of time, it seems more valid than ever. Yesterday, we inaugurated the exhibition Diego Rivera murals for the Museum of Modern Art, that brings back five of the eight murals painted Mexican mobile for his first retrospective at MoMA in 1931, and in which captured images of the history of Mexico and harsh criticism of the economic and social situation left by the Great Depression, today, with nuances, is repeated in America. In addition to the murals, the exhibition includes three sketches, prototype portable mural done in 1930 and smaller drawings, watercolors and prints by Rivera. The exhibition will open to the public next Sunday. “I can think of no better metaphor for what happens with moves like” Occupy Wall Street ‘that have been replicated in the world and U.S. social stratification that appears in one of Rivera’s works, “said the director of MoMA , Glenn Lowry. Journalists, collectors, entrepreneurs like Ignacio Deschamps, president of the main sponsor of the sample, BBVA Bancomer, Mexico’s Ambassador to the United States, Arturo Sarukhan, the Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco, and Consul in New York, Carlos Sada, gathered yesterday morning at the opening for the press, which hosts made Lowry and curator Leah Dickerman, the mastermind behind the sample. In the afternoon, we performed the official opening, which was attended by the First Lady, Margarita Zavala. It was Sarukhan who stressed the synergy between Mexico and the MoMA, remembering that there have already been three exhibitions of three artists associated with the country over the past two years: Gabriel Orozco, Francis Alos, and now Rivera. “I think it speaks much of what we can do to use culture as a bridge between both countries,” Sarukhan praised, true believer in the crucial role that culture plays in Mexico’s global positioning. Speaking about the work of Mexican and parallelism of the message he left 80 years ago today, Deschamps said: “Diego Rivera was a man committed to his time with social problems. He lived in a global economic crisis in those years we are living now, and I think it is a necessary reflection is very important that the development and fairness. “ Two special guests at the pre-opening yesterday were Mark and Vicky Micha, collectors, who served two murals-The Rise and Power, for the exhibition of Rivera. “They’ve been at home, and now came to the museum and borrowed generously, and lending generously. I am more than happy to see you here, proud, happy, more than anything, Diego, because what he has done is repeated 80 years later, “said Micha renovation. They are interested in Latin America NEW YORK .- This exhibition of Diego Rivera, the MoMA in New York close ties with Mexico and Latin American art, which is in its permanent collection, rich in pieces by artists from the region. “There is a real interest in Latin American art is broad, and that is not new,” said Leah Dickerman, curator in charge of the sample. He recalled that the museum has many curators who choose artists that seem interesting for various reasons which...

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Leonora Carrington dies at 94 in Mexico

Posted by on May 26, 2011 in Frida Kahlo, History | 0 comments

Leonora Carrington dies at 94 in Mexico

MEXICO CITY—British-born painter, writer and sculptor Leonora Carrington, considered one of the last of the original surrealists, has died, Mexico’s National Arts Council confirmed Thursday. She was 94. Carrington was known for her haunting, dreamlike works that often focused on strange ritual-like scenes with birds, cats, unicorn-like creatures and other animals as onlookers or seeming participants. She was also part of a famous wave of artistic and political emigres who arrived in Mexico in the 1930s and ’40s — and in the male-dominated realm of surrealism, was a member of a rare trio of Mexico-based female surrealists along with Frida Kahlo and Remedios Varo. “She was the last great living surrealist,” said longtime friend and poet Homero Aridjis. “She was a living legend.” Friend and promoter Dr. Isaac Masri said she died Wednesday of old age, after being hospitalized. “She had a great life, and a dignified death, as well, without suffering,” he said. Carrington’s body was taken to a Mexico City funeral home for viewing. “She created mythical worlds in which magical beings and animals occupy the main stage, in which cobras merge with goats and blind crows become trees,” the National Arts Council wrote, adding, “These were some of the images that sprang from a mind obsessed with portraying a reality that transcends what can be seen.” Mexican author Elena Poniatowska was a longtime friend of the artist and wrote the novel “Leonora” based on her life. “Leonora was truly a woman who was one of a kind,” Poniatowska said. Carrington was born in Lancashire, England, on April 6, 1917, but her last longtime home and inspiration was Mexico, once famously dubbed a “surrealist country” by writer and poet Andre Breton. The artist is survived by two children. Funeral plans were not immediately...

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Detroit was muse to legendary artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo

Posted by on Apr 27, 2011 in History | 0 comments

Detroit was muse to legendary artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo

Louis Aguilar / The Detroit News They are Detroit legends, despite living here for less than a year. Seventy-nine years ago, Mexican artist Diego Rivera and his wife, Frida Kahlo, rolled into Depression-era Detroit and quickly ignited so much controversy it nearly closed the Detroit Institute of Arts. It was here, in this tough factory town seemingly on the verge of economic collapse, that both artists were pushed to create masterpieces. Rivera’s “Detroit Industry” murals at the DIA are considered one of his finest works. And Detroit is where a young and still unknown Kahlo created her first great paintings, one of which is now owned by another famous Metro Detroiter: Madonna. Their story is a prototype of the fight we still have today about Detroit. Is it an innovative place for artists like Rivera believed? Or a “shabby old village” as Kahlo described the city in a letter to a friend dated May 26, 1932. The epic tale of Rivera and Kahlo will be retold in a multimedia presentation during the upcoming Art X Detroit exhibition. Art X is dedicated to the works of 38 local artists who have been awarded fellowships by the Troy-based Kresge Foundation. Today through Sunday, nearly 50 free events will be held at a dozen venues in Detroit, from a major exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit to jazz, classical, hip-hop, dance, theater, poetry readings and panel discussions. Rivera and Kahlo’s story will be told Saturday night at the DIA. “Rivera reached a level of understanding about himself, his work and the world that is reflected in the Detroit murals and that does not appear in any of his work before and after,” said Linda Downs, author of “Diego Rivera: The Detroit Industry Murals,” adding that it is a “monumental modern work.” Controversy in 1933 Long considered one of the city’s cultural gems, Rivera’s work initially angered a big swath of people back in the spring of 1933 when it was about to be unveiled. Many didn’t like Rivera for who he was: an avowed communist and foreigner. “American artists should have at least been considered for the execution of this work,” said the Rev. H. Ralph Higgins, senior curate at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Detroit, in a 1933 Detroit News interview. “A question of much more (than) art is involved. It constitutes a war between communists and capitalism.” Higgins was not altogether wrong. Communism appealed to many in Depression-era America. Just weeks before Rivera and Kahlo arrived April 1932, an estimated 60,000 marchers took to the streets of Detroit, many singing the socialist anthem “L’Internationale.” They were protesting the shooting deaths of five people during a rally outside Ford Motor Co.’s Rouge plant. Many rich patrons of the DIA balked at the idea that a gigantic image of a factory, Ford Motor Co’s Rouge Plant, was going to be the centerpiece of the DIA, according to press accounts of the day. Dozens of religious organizations were convinced Rivera had mocked the Holy Trinity in a panel that depicts a child vaccination. The scene shows a young child with a horse, a cow and sheep at the infant’s feet. The composition of the figures forms a triangle like that of a nativity scene. Additionally, groups representing hundreds of thousands of Metro...

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Frida Kahlo’s father wasn’t Jewish after all

Posted by on Apr 11, 2011 in Frida Kahlo, History, News | 0 comments

Frida Kahlo’s father wasn’t Jewish after all

or decades now, ever since an international revival of interest in the paintings and life of Mexico’s Frida Kahlo, art historians and critics, including this writer, have been writing that Frida’s photographer father was Jewish, possibly of Hungarian origin. A new book devoted to Guillermo Kahlo and his photography reveals that he had no Jewish genes and stemmed from a long line of German Protestants

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Diego Rivera: The Cubist Portraits, 1913-1917 at the Meadows Museum

Posted by on Nov 19, 2010 in Collections, History, News, Site, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Diego Rivera: The Cubist Portraits, 1913-1917 at the Meadows Museum

Rivera said he literally heard bells. But that was probably just nerve damage, and if indeed there was a real epiphany, it didn’t precipitate his abandonment of reclining female figures but rather the end of a five-year fling with Cubism, one chronicled in Diego Rivera: The Cubist Portraits, 1913-1917, at the Meadows Museum through September 20.

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An experiment in cannibalism

Posted by on Oct 12, 2010 in History, News, Site | 0 comments

An experiment in cannibalism

In 1904, wishing to extend my knowledge of human anatomy, a basic requisite for my painting, I took a course in that subject in the Medical School in Mexico City. At that time, I read of an experiment which greatly interested me.

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