The exhibition Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting features more than 80 works on paper and paintings by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera and more than 60 photographs of the couple, whose shared passion for each other and Mexico's revolutionary culture during the 1920s and 1930s have made them Mexico's most famous artists. Assembled from three distinguished Mexican private collections on Mexican art, the Museo Dolores Olmedo, Colección Gelman, and Galería Arvil, the exhibition provides the opportunity to view almost one quarter of Kahlo's entire body of work and a range of Rivera's painting styles from his early cubist period and studies for his Mexican murals to his portraits and later landscapes. Photographs by Nickolas Muray, Lola Alvarez Bravo, Bernard Silberstein and others help tell the story of one of the most prolific and politically charged couples of the 20th century.
During their lifetime together as a married couple, Rivera achieved international prominence as a muralist, while Kahlo's intimate paintings were embraced by the Surrealist movement and the Mexican art world but not well known in the broader context of art and modernism. Guest-curated at the AGO by OCAD University professor and cultural historian Dot Tuer, Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting offers a new perspective on their artistic significance for the 21st century: one that encompasses how their paintings reflect both the dramatic story of their lives together and their artistic commitment to the transformative political and cultural values of post-revolutionary Mexico.
A collaboration of this scale and ambition involves contributions from every department of each Institution; our talented and hard-working staffs deserve our gratitude. At the high, a core team has been working on this collaboration since the beginning: David Brenneman, Director of collections and Exhibitions and Frances B. Bunzi Family Curator of European Art; Philip Verre Chief Operating Officer; and Jody Cohen, Senior Manager of special Initiatives, have overseen the development and implementation of this exhibition. At the Art Gallery of Ontario, The exhibition was championed by Matthew Teitelbaum, Michael and Sonja Koerner Director & CEO, and Elizabeth Smith, Executive Director of Curatorial Affairs, and led by lain Hoadley, Interim Head, Exhibition Operations and Project Manager.
The multifaceted nature of such an exhibition relies on the keen organizational skills and judgment of a team of colleagues. At the High, we deeply appreciate the efforts of Rhonda Matheison, Chief Financial Officer, Amy Simon, Manager of Exhibition; Laurie Kind Images and Rights Coordinator; Elizabeth Riccardi, Assistant to the Director of Collections and Exhibitions; Toni Pentecouteau, executive Assistant to the Director, and Leslie Petsoff, Assistant to the Chief operating Officer. Our registration and installation departments managed the considerable task of mobilizing more than 100 works at the high smoothly and efficiently. Frances Francis, Senior Registrar; Rebecca Parker, Associate Registrar; and Jeremy Underwood, Coordinator for Collection and Exhibition, oversaw transport and loans. Brian Kelly, Chief Preparator; Gene Clifton, Senior Preparator, Fabrication; and Cayse Cheatham, Edward Hill and Caroline Prinzivalli, Preaprators, all made sure than the works were safely received and beautifully installed in Atlanta, as Did Kevin Streiter, Manager of Facilities and logistics, and Al Holland, Chief of Security, The AGO is equally grateful to our exhibitions services team who have played key roles throughout multiple phases of this endeavor, including George Bartosik, Manager, Exhibition Services; Akira Yoshikawa, Collections Specialist, Access and Processing Coordinator; Tim Hardacre, Collections Care Specialist Storage