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Posts Tagged ‘Frida Kahlo’

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Here’s my outfit for The World of Frida Kahlo opening reception. I decided it would have been kind of silly for me to try to copy Kahlo’s unique style. But I wanted to give her a nod so I did my own thing keeping her in mind.

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The skirt reminded me of Kahlo’s billowy dresses. It belonged to my grandmother and was made in Mexico, circa 1950s. I paired that with a simple cotton peasant style blouse. The purse is from the 1920s and my signature shoes are 1940s (look at the OverDresssedforLife logo). Flowers in the hair is classic Kahlo and I went with a single white one, which suits my face better than the flower headband. (Looks great on her though.) That belt has added just the right touch to so many outfits – it’s beaded and a gift from my sis-in-law (thanks Lori!), probably vintage. To add a little color around my neck I’m sporting a shell and turquoise necklace that I remember seeing on my mother back in the 1970s. I wore silver and turquoise rings and bracelets (also my mother’s) and those cat eye shades are new.

I really enjoyed shopping my own closet and creating this ensemble. I particularly got a kick out of using so many family pieces. For sure there is more of this outfit in my future. It’s comfortable and festive … perfect for a summer evening drinking sangria out on the deck.

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Congratulations to the Bedford Gallery, who must have broken opening day attendance records on July 8th with their latest exhibit The World of Frida.

The Bedford Gallery is housed in the Lesher Center for the Arts located in downtown Walnut Creek. The World of Frida has two elements: 1. A traveling exhibit, Frida Kahlo Through the Lens of Nickolas Muray, which is a collection of photographs of Kahlo taken in the 1930s & 40s by Nickolas Muray, her Hungarian lover and 2. Juried exhibit of 150 artists from around the globe who have created works of art inspired by Kahlo.

We arrive for our 1pm early entrance, surprised to see a long line of attendees waiting outside to get in for their 2pm entrance time. Many seem to be enjoying the anticipation, braving the heat by waving fans and keeping themselves occupied chatting with one another. The line pops with bright colors, as Frida Kahlo enthusiasts are decked-out in her honor dressed in long skirts topped with shawls and flower headbands. Among the crowd are quite a few little girls with their mothers, looking oh-so-cute also sporting the Frida Kahlo look.

Once inside, the lobby is buzzing with energy and confusion about where to check in. We stand in a long line, watch as people cut in front (bad form!) and after 20 or so minutes we squeeze into the gallery.

It’s shoulder to shoulder with the artists and their families, Bedford Gallery members, and a few press. What a challenge to actually see the art but we persevere, weaving through the crowd seeking available pockets of air and heading for any piece of art not too mobbed. There are the usual iconic references – lots of butterflies, animals, and flowers – in paintings, sculptures, a video, and even fabric.

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Photo: Richard Aiello

I’m drawn to the more subtle pieces, for example Vicki Gunter’s clay sculpture of ribs and spine painted blue, which Gunter tells me references Kahlo’s Blue House. Some of the rib bones are paint brushes and some fingers with red nails. The vintage glass buttons as embellishment are a nod to Kahlo’s sense of fashion. “I used to be a dancer, ” Gunter explains. “And I did healing … I connected with what was going on with her physically as well as emotionally.” (As a young woman Kahlo was seriously injured in a bus crash, which resulted in broken bones and a lifetime of pain and surgeries.) Gunter started with the well known Kahlo quote that came after her foot was amputated – “Feet, what do I need you for, when I have wings to fly?”

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Three generations of Frida enthusiasts: Melissa Nerling with her mother Denise and daughter Ramona.

 

Part of the day’s festivities is a Frida Kahlo look-a-like contest. Over 40 people enter, both young and not-so-young. Each struts their stuff on the outside platform while the audience claps in support. Some contestants take the “More is More” approach with added accessories such as stuffed toy monkeys, paintbrushes, a bird cage, layers of chunky beaded necklaces, and the Kahlo classic – flowers in the hair, but supersized.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Photo: Richard Aiello

There is also a fashion show with models walking the runway in lovely lace dresses and balancing colossal size head pieces made of flowers and twigs.

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Portrait of Frida Kahlo by Nickolas Muray, 1941.

What a fun, if chaotic day, full of spirit and certainly love for all things Frida. I particularly enjoy the vividness of Muray’s photographs and I’d like to go back to take more time with them. I also appreciate seeing how modern artists reinterpret the Kahlo images that speak to them.

Throughout the afternoon I find myself wondering what Kahlo would have thought of the event – the look a-likes, the art, her status as an icon. I suspect she would be quite taken aback.

The World of Frida is on now through September 16, 2018 at the Bedford Gallery, Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek, CA. $5 adult entrance fee is a true bargain.

 

 

 

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