Devouring Frida: The Art History and Popular Celebrity of Frida Kahlo / Edition 1

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Overview

Beginning in the late 1970’s Frida Kahlo achieved cult heroine status less for her richly surrealist self-portraits than by the popularization of the events of her tumultuous life. Her images were splashed across billboards magazine ads, and postcards; fashion designers copied the so-called “Frida” look in hairstyles and dress; and “Fridamania” even extended to T-shirts, jewelry, and nail polish. Margaret A. Lindauer argues that this mass market assimilation of Kahlo’s identity has consistently detracted from appreciation of her work, leading instead to narrow interpretations based on “an entrenched narrative of suffering.” While she agrees that Kahlo’s political and feminist activism, her stormy marriage to fellow artist Diego Reviera, and the tragic reality of a progressively debilitated body did represent a biography colored by emotional and physical upheaval, she questions an “author-equals-the-work” critical tradition that assumes a :one-to-one association of life events to the meaning of a painting.” In kahlo’s case, Lindauer says, such assumptions created a devouring mythology, an iconization that separates us from rather than leads us to the real significance of the oeuvre. Accompanied by 26 illustrations and deep analysis of Kahlo’s central themes, this provocative, semiotic study recontextualizes an important figure in art history at the same time it addresses key questions about the language of interpretation, the nature of veneration, and the truths within self-representation.

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
"This brilliant analysis of one of our most outstanding and popular artists of the twentieth century is a significant contribution to Kahlo studies and to the history of art, women's studies, ethnic studies, and Mexican studies in general."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780819563484
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
  • Publication date: 4/30/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

MARGARET A. LINDAUER is an academic associate at Arizona State University.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
I. Preface
II. Introduction: Rereading Frida Kahlo
1. Frida as a Wife/Artist in Mexico
2. Frida of the Blood-Covered Paint Brush
3. The Language of the Missing Mother
4. Unveiling Politics
5. Fetishizing Frida
6. Notes
7. Bibliography
8. Index

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