Mexico City Jet Lag Journal: The Frida Kahlo Museum
Well, where does one begin recapping and describing one of the most beautiful, monumental, and life-changing museums? I suppose at the beginning like you do with every story. . . So, here it goes!
After a previous quick trip to the DF (a.k.a. Mexico City as it’s known outside of Mexico), where I was crushed to learn that The Frida Museum was closed on certain days for renovation–I was hell bent on getting myself back to the city to see the home, Caza Azul, and the established museum devoted to one of the finest, female painters that ever lived: Frida Kahlo. I fell under Frida’s spell years ago, and since then, everything she was and produced simply feels like magic. So the museum was added to the “life bucket list” and I swore when I came back to the city, the museum would be one of the very first stops to accomplish. So while the other city residents were filing into Mass and listening to church bells ring, we made the Sunday trek to be at the home when the doors first opened.
Before you even enter the interior, you wait in line next to the fabulous azul wall that surrounds the perimeter of the grounds.
You’re first greeted with these wondrous paper mache hanging figures and masks called “cartoneria”–they were collected en mass by Diego and Frida and give such a fun, party feeling to every room you saw them in (and yes, they were in every room).
From the first inside the courtyard area, I was taken back to the film “Frida” (by Julie Teymour with Selma Hayek) and felt like everything was as it should be and as Frida would have wanted–lush, vibrant, and peaceful (it was opening hours still). So the first tip: Go about an hour before it opens to get in line, and if you can, on a Sunday! No joke, I think it’s the day to go while others are celebrating religious beliefs in their own churches, temples, etc. I felt right at home in my church of art and history.
We always opt-in for the audio guide when visiting a museum, and this was no different. It gave great contextual background to all the handfuls and handfuls of painting by Friday you see throughout.This one above is of her father–who was a photographer of portraiture and of German descent. Did you know?
Frida loved, loved to keep her inner child alive even into adulthood–I think it fed her creativity and ability to see the dream-like scenery that others could not in life and thus she could paint what she dreamt. Her father made the above play set and figures for her when she was little, and while she was stuck in bed after surgery, after surgery, she still kept this play set close at hand. It was preserved so well!
There were fun little “trinckets” if you will everywhere throughout the house, and this one caught my eye hanging off a shelf (bright yellow of course) because of its intricate hand carving work. When I see these objects in homes, and especially in Frida’s, I had to wonder how many times she held it in her hands and noticed it to amongst all the other beautiful objects she kept. What was it about this that she and Diego decided to keep?
The above quaint room hardly seems like a man’s room, let alone a room for a giant, or so he was considered back in his day. But yes, it is Diego’s room, as Frida and Diego rarely ever shared a bedroom in any of their homes they kept. The bed just doesn’t seem proportionate at all! I mean!
The infamous bed where Frida sadly spent way to much of her time after countless surgeries–but then, maybe if she hadn’t spent so much time in bed, she might not have produced the artwork that she did.
This is the urn that Frida’s ashes were kept in–she requested that she be cremated and to be placed in this urn of a toad. Because Diego’s nickname was “Toad” and she said she wanted to always be preserved eternally with and inside Diego.
And finally, the last moving piece of the museum was to see Frida’s body cast–the one she wore and painted on while she lay in bed. Her body casts were such a definitive accessory that she had to deal with and make do, that to paint the surface of them was the only way I think she felt she could bare to continue to wear them. So add that to her sketch book, her vibrant apparel and traditional jewelry and accessories–the spirit of Frida was still very much alive and awake in the space. I was truly mesmerized and just felt so lucky to finally, finally be in the home of such an iconic and important woman. I was swooning and in a daze while walking around with my audio guide.
We both agreed hands down, the museum was the best one we’ve been to in life (And that’s saying a lot, because, well collectively, we’ve both been to a lot), and was the highlight of the trip. How apropos that my scarf matched the scene, no?
I’ll conclude the post with a picture of this lil’ guy idol and the contrast of the two prevalent colors you see in Casa Azul. He stands so proud while he may not be that big, but he was good enough for Frida (And Diego), he’s more than good enough for me.
Stay tuned for our next post on the other museum sites to see in the D.F.!