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In the garden of Frida: NYBG show links Kahlo's art with nature

A photograph of Frida Kahlo.

A photograph of Frida Kahlo. Photo Credit: Nickolas Muray Photo Archive

The spirit of Frida Kahlo is alive at The New York Botanical Garden, with a sprawling ode to the Mexican artist and cultural icon in its showcase exhibition "Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life."

In a unique, multidimensional show that explores Kahlo's relationship with nature, the garden's conservatory is re-imagined as Kahlo's Mexico City garden, La Casa Azul (The Blue House), which she shared with husband and fellow artist Diego Rivera.

"We learned that her passion for Mexican culture was expressed in a large part through plants and her garden," said Todd Forrest, the NYBG's Arthur Ross vice president for horticulture and living collections.

Complementing the garden display is an exhibit at the LuEsther T. Mertz Library's art gallery that demonstrates the depth of the artist's knowledge of plants.

"Kahlo had an incredibly profound and deep affection for the natural world," curator Adriana Zavala said.

Throughout the show, Kahlo's imagery explores themes of identity and duality, and the interconnectedness of humanity and nature.

"She really thought about plants as a way of expressing ... very complicated, very culturally situated concepts," Zavala said.

The exhibition also features an installation in the Mertz Library by Mexican artist Humberto Spindola, who has recreated Kahlo's iconic painting "The Two Fridas" with life-size paper dresses crafted using traditional Mexican folk art techniques.

Throughout its run, a series of special "Frida al Fresco" evenings, live music, a Mexican film festival and more special events will accompany the exhibition.

Visitors can also enjoy a variety of Mexican-inspired dining options, including an outdoor cantina and taco truck, that will be available throughout the Kahlo showcase.


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