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At once deeply personal and brilliantly perceptive, this dynamic reconsideration of the life and work of Frida Kahlo is curated by the prominent feminist artist Judy Chicago, who helped introduce American audiences to Kahlo's paintings.
About the Author
JUDY CHICAGO is an artist, author, feminist, and educator whose career spans four decades. Her best-known work, The Dinner Party, is a monumental multimedia project that has been seen by more than one million viewers. FRANCES BORZELLO is a London-based art historian who has written extensively on cultural and gender issues.
Judy Chicago is not only one of our more important artists today, she is also in the forefront of assuring that women artists from the past (think back to Artemisia Gentileschi -1593 to 1653 forward) as well as those of the present, both well known and emerging, are equally recognized with male artists. This very colorful and beautifully designed book is a testament to that mindset. Chicago with the able assistance of art historian Frances Borzello has selected a large number of works by the ever fascinating artist Frida Kahlo and has put together a survey of her early influences and her phenomenal output in tandem with the works that Chicago feels presents a case for exploring Kahlo's inspiration.
While most of us are very familiar with the vast number of self portraits Kahlo painted, portraits that tell us as much about the art milieu of her time as any essay, there are many works presented here that are less well known and that deserve the attention the dialogue between Chicago and Borzello offer. The reproductions of both Kahlo's works as well as reproductions of frescoes, retablos, and other images from the past that can be noted as seeds in many of Kahlo's paintings are first class. From the rich cover of the book, emphasizing red (a favorite hue for Kahlo's dress and art), through to the details selected from Kahlo's works magnified for closer examination, this is a book of quality. And as if all of this shared imagery and information weren't enough this book is also a fine format for the gender issues both authors address. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, December 10
The author of this book is Judy Chicago, a prominent feminist artist who has for decades worked tirelessly to ensure that women's artistic achievements become a permanent part of our cultural heritage. She is in the forefront of assuring that women artists are equally recognized with male artists. Her co-author, Frances Borzello, is a London-based art historian who has written extensively on cultural and gender issues and is a specialist in women artists' self-portraiture. Together they handpicked 90 of Kahlo's works that speak to the full spectrum of women's experiences. The text in this book is a "dialogue" between the two artistic icons in which they discuss their interpretation of the selected works.
The book begins with a 5 page "Introduction" written by Chicago. In this essay Chicago explains how she became involved in the writing of this book and that one of their goals for this book was "...to consider Kahlo's art without constantly referring to her biography as a way of explaining the imagery". I find this goal very difficult if not impossible....Kahlo painted a diary of her life....her work is her biography on canvas. The focus of this "essay", and the rest of the book, is mostly Chicago's feminist views and the inequality of women artist throughout history and into the present.
I have to say that I was disappointed in this book. I put this book aside several times but in the interest of a fair review I forced myself to finish it. There were times when the content was so focused on the feminist movement that I lost sight of the fact the book was about Kahlo. This book should have been titled: "The History of the Feminist Movement in Art". I have researched Kahlo's life and work for the past 7 years and read more than 30 Kahlo books.Read more ›
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