Frida & Diego: Love & Revolution opens at AGSA in 2023

South Australian Tourism Commission

An Australian-exclusive exhibition, Frida & Diego: Love & Revolution will open at the Art Gallery of South Australia on 24 June 2023. Iconic works by two of the most influential and loved artists of the twentieth century – Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera – will feature alongside works by their contemporaries in an exhibition that reveals the vitality of modern Mexican art while exploring the enduring allure of Kahlo.

Passion and politics lie at the heart of this major exhibition. Radical in their art and politics, Kahlo and Rivera were at the forefront of the artistic and cultural avant-garde in post-revolution Mexico from the 1920s to the 1950s. Today they are celebrated for their fusion of traditional Mexican folk art and embrace of modernism.

Featuring more than 150 works, including paintings, works on paper, photographs, video and period clothing, this significant exhibition from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection positions Kahlo and Rivera within the broader context of Mexican Modernism. It also includes works by Manuel and Lola Álvarez Bravo, Miguel Covarrubias, María Izquierdo, Carlos Mérida, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Yasumasa Morimura and others.

AGSA Director Rhana Devenport ONZM says, ‘Each generation brings a new lens through which to view the phenomenon that is Frida Kahlo. A twenty-first century muse, Kahlo is today revered as a feminist and as a singular political and creative force. Frida & Diego: Love & Revolution speaks to the influence and ingenuity of art practice in Mexico and aims to recontextualise the foremost presence of Kahlo within our society today.’

Tansy Curtin, AGSA’s Curator of International Art, Pre-1980 says, ‘Frida & Diego: Love & Revolution is the most comprehensive exhibition of Mexican Modernism ever seen in Australia, from the unrivalled collection of Jacques and Natasha Gelman. Close friends of Kahlo and Rivera, the Gelmans were pioneering collectors who formed an outstanding collection of works representing Mexican Modernism.

This exhibition will immerse visitors in the creative and vibrant milieu of Mexico’s art world in the first half of the twentieth century – from the beginnings of the Mexican cultural revolution to Kahlo and Rivera’s turbulent love affair. Through Rivera’s celebrated murals and depictions of folk art, the exhibition reveals the dramatic social and cultural shifts that occurred following the Mexican revolution and elucidates Rivera’s profound political and artistic influence.

Kahlo was unflinching in her exploration of self-identity. While her physical body may have limited her, Kahlo’s resilience and creativity soared, resulting in bold and commanding statements which retain their social, cultural and feminist potency and continue to resonate with people today.’

The Honourable Zoe Bettison MP, Minister for Tourism and Multicultural Affairs says, ‘I’m thrilled that the Art Gallery of South Australia and the South Australian Tourism Commission have collaborated to present this internationally significant exhibition – an Australian exclusive that can only be experienced in Adelaide.

We know people from far and wide will make their way to Adelaide for our exclusive arts and culture offerings. Visitors will not only get to enjoy iconic works by two of the most influential artists of the twentieth century, but also the world-class collection at the Art Gallery of South Australia – at the heart of our boutique capital which offers intriguing laneway bars, diverse restaurants, and bespoke hotels.

This year, Robert Wilson: Moving portraits and Archie 100 brought almost 14,000 interstate visitors to Adelaide – and I’m sure this exhibition will be no different. There is no better destination for this Australian exclusive event, which is part of a suite of world-class arts and cultural events that drives visitation to South Australia beyond the Mad March season.’

The Honourable Andrea Michaels MP, Minister for Arts says, ‘The Art Gallery of South Australia’s presentation of Frida & Diego: Love & Revolution is of national significance – offering Australian audiences the chance to experience an important period in history reflected through paintings, drawings and photographs by internationally renowned artists.’

Through their exhibition design, renowned South Australian architects Grieve Gillett Andersen will transport visitors into the world of Kahlo and Rivera, inspired by their home and studio ‘La Casa Azul’ and reflecting the vibrancy of Mexican culture.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a new publication, produced by the Art Gallery of South Australia, and a dynamic and engaging series of public programs and events.

Frida & Diego: Love & Revolution is on display at the Art Gallery of South Australia from 24 June to 17 September 2023. Tickets are now on sale at agsa.sa.gov.au.

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