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More than just a unibrow: New Frida Kahlo exhibit hits Los Angeles

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By Jennipher Vasquez

Whether you know her as Frida Kahlo, Friducha or the self-proclaimed “hija de la revolución,” we can all agree she is much more than just the artist known for her unibrow.

Hollywood is one of nine North American cities hosting an exhibit of her most famous paintings.

I visited The Lighthouse Artspace in Los Angeles, which is currently home to “Immersive Frida Kahlo,” previously known as “Immersive van Gogh”.

Although I knew I wasn’t going to see any physical paintings of hers, I walked in with no idea of what to expect and a hunch that I was in for something good.

Walking into the exhibit on Sunset Boulevard, you’re greeted by friendly staff eager to scan your e-ticket and get you inside.

The next greeting you receive is a wall display of Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh’s 1887 “Self-Portrait,” followed by Kahlo’s 1943 “Self Portrait as a Tehuana,” on the second wall of the entrance walkway.

You turn the corner and begin to walk through a tunnel of gold frames and cobalt blue lighting, where you make your way into the last room before the main gallery of the exhibit.

Wall-mounted televisions displayed many of her paintings with details about her life, the inspiration behind her work and quotes from the artist’s writings.

I was almost immediately brought to tears when I entered the enormous room, where I was met by what is described as 360-degree, large-scaled projections displaying Kahlo’s paintings from floor to ceiling.

I was truly immersed in the “Immersive” experience.

It’s difficult to explain the overwhelming emotions I felt in a two-room gallery housing only small benches and mirrored pillars that each served individual artistic purposes.

There are so many different pieces being displayed at once on each wall. It can be challenging to pick a spot to sit and watch due to how fascinating it was to see how each painting was put together.

I can only describe it in layman’s terms as the coolest video collage I’ve ever seen. I didn’t want to miss a thing.

Each of her paintings was combined in a video-like sequence that completely makes sense if you know of her life and of the inspiration behind her work.

Kahlo’s political views and the unsurmountable pain she suffered physically and emotionally throughout her 47 years of life are heavily ingrained into her work.

One particular painting that I was eagerly waiting to be displayed was her 1932 “Henry Ford Hospital” piece.

Kahlo suffered a miscarriage while she and her husband Diego Rivera, who is also a famous Mexican artist, lived in the United States. The painting is her depiction of the miscarriage where she is seen lying down, bleeding vaginally and connected by red ribbons to six flying objects that each correlate to the miscarriage.

One of the ribbons connects Kahlo to a male fetus depicting the son she had always longed for but lost that July.

The grief-inspired painting was brought to life beautifully, just as the rest of her work displayed.

Upon exiting the exhibit, you enter directly into the gift shop. You can find typical gift shop novelties, all van Gogh and Kahlo-themed pieces.

Particularly, you won’t want to miss the well-lit glass case containing hand-crafted jewelry, mosaic picture frames, shot glasses and flasks showcasing some of Kahlo’s self-portraits. The profits from each item go to the non-profit organization, Piece by Piece.

The gallery is partnered with Piece by Piece, which aims to support the residents of skid row and the homeless population of south Los Angeles.

The exhibit only runs about an hour long from beginning to end. Tickets start at $29.99, but if you are looking to visit with a significant other, the gallery offers a “date night” package at a higher rate that also includes a private viewing and romantic souvenirs.The experience may not be for everyone but is certainly visually captivating and emotionally drawing.

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