LEAVE FRIDA KAHLO ALONE!

 A más de 50 años de su muerte, la artista mexicana Frida Kahlo sigue siendo noticia y su cara aparece por doquier: decoración de restaurantes mexicanos, botellas de tequila, papelería, condones, papel de baño, camisetas, etc. La lista es infinita y podemos decir que efectivamente, Frida Kahlo está de moda… y es una auténtica mina de oro./ Frida Kahlo is still news, 50 years after her death. Her face appears everywhere: decoration in Mexican restaurants, tequila bottles, stationery, condoms, toilet paper, shirts, etc. The list is endless and we can say that indeed, Frida Kahlo is a hot trend right now… and also a real gold mine.
 
La semana pasada, la obra de Frida Kahlo, Dos desnudos en el bosque fue vendida en una subasta de arte en Nueva York por 8 millones de dólares, convirtiéndose en la obra de arte latinoamericana más costosa de la historia./ Last week, a painting by Frida kahlo, Two nudes in the forest was sold at an art auction in New York for $8 million dollars, becoming the most expensive artwork by a Latin American artist.
 
A partir de este suceso me puse a pensar en el negocio que representa Frida Kahlo, no sólo para la moda y el arte, sino para muchas otras industrias, pues la pintora se ha vuelto el icono de un país que casi se equipara con el tequila, el mariachi y los tacos… y sí, muchas veces cuando me presento como mexicano frente a europeos la primera cosa que me dicen es: “¡Wow, eres mexicano! Pues me encanta Frida Kahlo”./ Then I started to think about the business that Frida Kahlo represents, not only for fashion and art, but for many other industries, as the painter has become the icon of a country that almost equated with tequila, mariachis and tacos… and yes, many times when I present myself as a Mexican, the first thing people say is “Wow, you’re Mexican! I just love Frida Kahlo”.
 
El boom por Frida Kahlo en el extranjero comenzó mucho después de su muerte, algunos dicen que fue cuando un grupo feminista necesitaba un “ídolo”, decidiéndose por la pintora como un símbolo de identificación en los 70, idea que fue evolucionando con el tiempo hasta convertirla en una especie de “mártir social” (similar al caso de Van Gogh) en donde las enfermedades y el dolor se convierten en una cosa romántica digna de admirar./ This obsession for Frida Kahlo began long after her death, some people say it was when a feminist group needed an “idol”, so they took the image of the painter as an identification symbol back in the 70s, and idea that evolved over time to turn into a kind of “social martyr” (similar to the case of Van Gogh) where disease and pain become a worthy romantic thing to admire.
 
De icono de izquierda a marca registrada, Frida Kahlo sigue apareciendo por todos lados y me atrevo a decir que hemos llegado a ese punto donde su cara, su vestimenta y su historia dolorosa pesan más que cualquiera de sus pinturas. Y mientras la comercialización aumenta, la familia de Kahlo ha decidido poner en marcha -desde el 2007- la Frida Kahlo Co. con el objetivo de regularizar los productos con la imagen de la pintora./ From a right-wing icon to trademark, Frida Kahlo keeps popping up everywhere and I dare say that we have reached that point where her face, her clothes and her painful story outweigh any of her paintings. And while marketing increases, the Kahlo family has decided to launch -from 2007- the Frida Kahlo Co. with the aim of regularizing the products with the image of the painter.
 
Estoy consciente de que el arte migra a muchos otros terrenos y todo se repite con el tiempo bajo una nueva interpretación. El arte está ahí: en las portadas de revistas, en las pasarelas, en los objetos de diseño, en películas, etc. ¿Pero en qué momento la comercialización en los productos más hortera merece un límite? ¡Hasta el próximo post!/ I am aware that art migrates to many other fields and everything is repeated over time under a new interpretation. The art is there: on the covers of magazines, on runways, in objects of design, in films, etc. But at what point the most tacky products deserves a limit?

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  • Very good point! This topic is something that I have thought a great deal about. I think the problem is that today we are surrounded by art, but nobody teaches us how to appreciate art and people start taking it for granted. When people start taking it from granted, then it loses meaning.

    Artists and art are not appreciated in our society. It is true that some art pieces are sold for a lot of money but only after the author is dead…and we must askes ourselves who buys these paintings? Sometimes they are bought by those who appreciate art, but most of time they are bought by businessmen who keep them in closed rooms and never even look at them, they are just waiting for a right moment to sell them. So, art is paradoxically often not bought to be admired but to make money from it which is terribly ironic. There is something else and I must say this…some people just don't get art…and that is ok. Some simply lack the sophistication for it. I understand that not everyone will be moved by a painting because for some visual arts aren't as interesting as something else. What is wrong, however, is claiming that there is nothing to art and many people do that. It always makes me see to experience that because those people rob themselves from wonderful experiences.

    It is depressing how many people think all the greatest achievements of human kind are just a sham…literature, painting, music- it means nothing to some people, for them the only thing they can understand is money. They basically see art as brands (brands as something created to give value to money) so owning a piece of art becomes the same as owning a Chanel bag. Basicially, what I see as problematic is how materilistic people are becoming! That's the real problem and that is what creates this need to brand artists (like it was the case with Frida).

  • Many people only understand the financial aspect of things, they can't think outside of that 'market/business' mode. People are becoming so materialistic they can't even experience something that is in essence a materialization of spiritual in material (because that is what real art is, it is incarnation of spiritual into material).

    Frida's works are incredibly complex and full of meaning. Putting them on some product robs them of that meaning. I mean I'm happy that people like her because I admire her greatly but at the same time I doubt that a lot of people know more that the basics about her.

    I think that a lot of people don't realize what it is to appreciate art. It is not wearing a tshirt with a replica (often a bad one) of some painting, it is knowing how to take a moment and appreciate the painting. I mean paintings are paintings for a reason! I'm not going to talk about how format is also important and how wrong it is to assume that you understand a painting that is larger than you if you have seen some tiny replica where you can't even see the details. Paintings are meant to be seen from different angles…and you can really do that by looking at a photo of it or by having an art replica on your coffee mug. To do that one needs to go into a museum and spend at least half an hour observing carefully…and then only then you can say you have really seen some painting.

    So, I do agree with you that art replicas can be incredibly tacky. I once wondered the same thing and concluded that there is such a thing as too much replica. I asked myself how the first person who saw Mona Lisa felt like….and even how would I feel if I saw it in person? Would I be even able to see it? Would I be able to see it like the first person who has seen it? Would I be able to see it with fresh eyes? Would I be blinded by a false assumption that I have seen it before? Would I be so overwhelmed by the crowds at the museum that I wouldn't even be able to take it all in? ( You see I was thinking about this in detail).

    That's the problem with today's society. It teaches us that we can buy everything. It gives us an illusion that we can understand such a complex soul as Frida Kahlo by buying earrings with her image. However, the reality is that to understand Frida we need to develop sophistication and complexity, we need to work our making ourselves better people. I actually think one can't understand Frida if one is a bad person, if one is shallow or materialistic. Not everything can be bought, not everything is for sale!

    I think that to really appreciate art we must make ourselves vulnerable, we need to open up to it, we need to let it break our heart and then it is heal us again…and only then it is a meaningful experience, only then we can say that we have experienced art…for art needs to be experienced, it is not something that we can buy. I think today we're bombarded with art so much it stops being precious and people don't cherish it as much, because paradoxically people stop responding to it.

    Isn't it terribly ironic that by making art more accessible, we have actually made it less valuable? I do hope that this trend can be changed.

    About my own personal relationship to Frida Kahlo I will talk some other time:).

  • Hola Pablo! I really admire Frida Kahlo as artist and I can't agree with you more – she was (or maybe still is considering the fact that there're so many things, which were created with her face?) Mexican icon. What about your point of you I also think that today we're living in "material world", where the most imporant thing is money. And I bet that there're plenty of people, who think that knew creativy of Frida only because they bought something with her face on it. It's really easy to sell something, but- a contrario- so much harder to understand her masterpieces, it's time-comsuming and it doesn't fit to our fast-world, when people get bored of things so easily.

    http://crafty-zone.blogspot.com/

  • ¡Era una gran artista! Aunque he de admitir que de unos años para aquí, se ha magnificado. Cierto es que la podemos encontrar en todo tipo de productos y yo creo que su obra (y toda ella) seguirá viva durante muchos años más 🙂

    Un abrazo Pablo,
    Melania | modeintechnicolor.blogspot.com