An XXL-Edition Compiles All of Frida Kahlo's 152 Artworks in an Extensive Celebration of Her Life and Work
An enormous new book from Taschen explores the life and work of famed Mexican artist Frida Kahlo (1907–1954). Widely recognized as a groundbreaking figure in contemporary understandings of gender and sexuality, Kahlo’s now iconic image—particularly derived from her more than 50 self-portraits showing her bold brow, braided hair, and range of floral adornments—has secured her legacy as one of the most influential and profound artists of the 20th Century.
Spanning 624 pages and weighing nearly 12 pounds, Frida Kahlo. The Complete Paintings compiles all 152 of her works paired with diary pages, letters, drawings, an illustrated biography, and hundreds of photos taken by Edward Weston, Manuel and Lola Álvarez Bravo, Nickolas Muray, and Martin Munkácsi that glimpse moments from Kahlo’s life with her husband and muralist Diego Rivera and of the Casa Azul, her home in Mexico City. Many of the pieces included haven’t been exhibited publicly in more than 80 years.
Edited by Luis-Martín Lozano with contributions from Andrea Kettenmann and Marina Vázquez Ramos, the volume contextualizes Kahlo’s paintings by offering an intimate and wide-reaching exploration of her oeuvre that was so profoundly impacted by her experiences with a lifelong disability and an unending need to question politics and notions of identity. Lozano describes her unparalleled contributions in a conversation with It’s Nice That:
Her uniqueness in art history is not only based in a feminist agenda as it has been stressed out in recent years, but mostly in her capacity to engage in ideological and aesthetic discussions of her time and contemporaries, in subjects such as public art and surrealism, and make them part of her core as an artist.
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To capture the depth of an enchanting river alcove or bucolic landscape, Russian artist Anastasia Trusova works in what she calls “textured graphic impressionism,” a unique style that expresses emotion through detail and volume. She uses a combination of palette knives and brushes to deftly layer acrylic paints into dreamy scenes: heavy impasto forms lush foliage, coiled lines shape thick clouds, and an array of smaller dabs become fields of wildflowers. “I don’t think about the rules. I paint as I feel. I add volume to highlight and emphasize something or to show something that is closer,” she says.
Trusova’s use of color is bold and often bright, and she tends to reach for a kaleidoscopic palette that makes sunsets or a river’s reflection appear fantastical. These aesthetic choices are a direct result of her studies at both the Moscow Artscool and later Moscow State Textile University, where she learned about the physics of color and how certain applications and contexts affect perceptions. “For example, the same red shade will look differently when surrounded by light green or dark blue. There we broadened our horizons, helped us fall in love with the most incredible combinations,” the Belgium-based artist says.
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A group exhibition at Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco offers a new perspective on the enduring legacy of the vessel as both standalone object and motif. Spanning ceramic vases, oil-based works on canvas, and sculptures made of paper pulp, the show explores the myriad ways the ubiquitous container has appeared throughout art history and how two dozen artists working today interpret the classic form. Included are the minimal, ritualistic paintings by Laura Berger (previously), Stephanie Shih’s sleek Molotov cocktail inscribed with a strikingly hopeful message, and Katie Kimmel’s zany dogs. We’ve gathered some of our favorite works below, and stop by the gallery before Vessel closes on July 31 to see them in person.
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In his ongoing Fragments series, San Antonio-based artist Jason Limon (previously) uses muted jewel and earth tones to paint uncanny scenarios for his recurring skeleton figure. The bony subject finds itself in a variety of bizarre situations, whether bursting from a tube of paint, orchestrating a puppet show with a pair of ornate paper hands, or nervously awaiting an encroaching fire. Often set against backdrops filled with multi-colored dabs of paint, his small pieces are imbued with a sense of creative problem-solving as he traps figures in scenes with boxes of pencils, scuffed erasers, and other craft supplies.
Although skeletons are typically tied to ideas of death and afterlife, Limon sees the anatomical subject as a universal image that allows him “to portray a thought, feeling or idea without the identity of the figure getting in the way,” although he tends to pair the ubiquitous form with actions and environments that are tied to his personal life. “My biggest concern has always been what’s been going on around closest to me and that is my family. Things were not so easy growing up in our family, and these days we’ve been able to get closer and help each other out,” he shares.
Originals, prints, and a few wearables are available in Limon’s shop, and you have a few chances to see his unearthly works in the coming months: at the LA Art Show from July 29 to August 1, at Copro Gallery in Santa Monica in September and October, and at Long Island’s Haven Gallery in April 2022. Until then, head to Instagram for an extensive archive of his pieces.
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Sound Waves from Contemporary Music Become Traditional Chinese Landscapes in Du Kun's Scroll Paintings
“Playing music is my only hobby,” says artist Du Kun, who pairs his longtime passion for the auditory art form with the traditional Chinese landscapes his father taught him to paint as a child. This compilation takes shape in his sprawling, layered scenes that follow lush groves and steep rock formations across silk scrolls stretching nearly nine meters. Each one of the natural features is the artist’s translation of a sound wave, which turns an eccentric array of tracks into wide, serene landscapes.
In a short video detailing his multi-faceted process, Du (previously) strums an acoustic guitar and taps percussive beats that he then digitally manipulates to form arched bridges or a whimsically rendered cloud that blows the length of the scroll. He combines multiple instruments and tracks for greater perspective and depth than a single recording would provide, rendering rich works that transform sung melodies into birds and clouds or the repetitive rhythms of electronic music into segmented architecture.
There’s an implied conversation between the visual and audio elements, Du says, describing how he uses “the mood of the painting as an initial guiding foundation to break away from the conventional routines of music arrangement.” Painting styles typically associated with the Song Dynasty and contemporary audio converge in the works in a seamless mix of time and sensory experiences, which he explains:
By using painting to influence music, the elements of music are transformed into these landscape paintings, becoming a new kind of music score. This series of works bring traditional Chinese paintings and modern music together, where ‘static’ and ‘noise’ are simultaneously present in the works—causing mutual influence, interdependency, and translation with one another. Just like two people who speak different languages but find a special way to communicate with each other.
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An Eclectic Group Show Features Sound Sculptures, Collages, and Toy Assemblages for the Annual BBA Artist Prize
A broad, varied collection of work from 20 emerging artists converges in a group exhibition for the sixth-annual BBA Artist Prize. Living in ten countries and working across mediums, this year’s finalists include Steve Parker’s touch-activated horn sculptures, Fiona White’s vivid collaged paintings, and June Lee’s figurative assemblages of toys and everyday objects. The winner of 2021’s award will be announced on June 25, with all works on view at Kühlhaus Berlin through June 30. Get a preview on the BBA site, and check out artist Ming Lu’s blue-and-white porcelain sculptures, which won the 2020 competition.
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Editor's Picks: History
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.