Friday 25 July 2008


Today's challenge: read Tessa DeCarlo's review in The Brooklyn Rail* of the SFMOMA/Walker Art Center Frida Kahlo exhibition, and replace every instance of 'Kahlo' with 'Angus'. I'm almost willing to wager it'll be the most insightful review of the show that you'll see.

From the review:

The knock on Kahlo is that her fame has less to do with art per se than with the “victim chic” of her biography—polio at six, a gruesome, crippling trolleycar accident at 19, marriage, divorce, and remarriage to Rivera, incessant infidelities, miscarriages, and surgeries—and the fact that, as a half-Jewish, half-mestiza, intermittently lesbian, disabled Mexican woman, she’s a veritable political-correctness punch line. It doesn’t help that she’s also wildly popular with people who are more likely to read People than ArtForum.

Indeed, many of Kahlo’s images are so familiar that encountering them in person is like a celebrity sighting: they’re smaller than you expect, yet denser with significance than anything else in the room. But unlike many celebrities, they look better in real life than on glossy paper.

Besides that, I think this is one of the best short reviews I've read in a while. Lively, informed, thoughtfully hooked into contemporary events, tackling the artist and the work, makes me want to write myself.

* By way of Tim Paul's quite splendid Museum Hours blog - thanks for the tip-off J

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