Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving



The Frida Kahlo exhibit, “Appearances Can Be Deceiving,” is featured at the Brooklyn Museum.


When Frida Kahlo died, her husband Diego Rivera locked up a large repository of her personal belongings in La Casa Azul, her lifelong home in Mexico City, and said they could not be seen until 15 years after his death. For years the pieces sat in the house, gathering dust, kept away from the public eye other than for a few small shows around Mexico. That is, until the Brooklyn Museum gathered them up and created “Appearances Can Be Deceiving,” a vibrant exhibit that works to honor Kahlo’s dazzling memory.

As soon as you enter the museum, you can see a faint hint of neon white lights emanating from the back of the room, where two brightly colored screens display the name Frida Kahlo in huge italicized letters. It nearly blinds you. As you enter the exhibit space you are met with bright orange walls that create the perfect background for Kahlo’s vivid works.

The exhibit guides visitors through Kahlo’s world, from her plush childhood in the Mexican upper class through her frightful medical history to her problematic marriage with Rivera and the battle with her miscarriage. Kahlo’s paintings frequently drew on the significant moments in her life and the emotions associated with them, which is evident in the 10 self-portraits and a selection of drawings included in the exhibit. Aside from these, there are more than 325 objects on display including personal photographs, hand-painted corsets and eyebrow pencils. There’s even a prosthetic leg, which was made for her after she lost hers in 1953.

Out of everything I saw, the piece I enjoyed the most was a photograph of Kahlo titled “Frida in New York.” In the photo, Kahlo is pictured in full Mexican garb against the New York skyline, creating a magnificent contrast between the two. Kahlo being in a foreign place so different from her reminded me of my first time in the city, specifically my college move-in day. Everything was new and exciting, yet it felt right.

As you exit, check out the gift shop. It’s almost as brilliantly decorated as the exhibit itself and has some incredible Mexican products, including tote bags, books and huipil, for sale as well as postcards of the works displayed. Finally, make sure to try some of the delicious conchas and sweetbreads the museum has for sale at the entrance cafe, and check out the workshop set up nearby where museum employees show you how to craft delicate paper flowers.

The exhibit runs through May 12 with tickets priced at $12 with a valid student ID. Buy them in advance, as they are a hot commodity and will sell out quick. Don’t miss out on this engaging and insightful exhibition, as it’s sure to delight Kahlo fans everywhere.