Cover

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pp. c-vi

CONTENTS

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pp. vii-viii

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

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pp. ix-x

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PREFACE

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pp. xi-xiv

IN THE MID-1980s, when I first read a biographic account of Frida Kahlo, I was inspired but also vaguely unsettled by the tragic-heroic narrative. At the time, I was a master of fine arts student, and my sense of inspiration undoubtedly related to my continuing project of rediscovering forgotten women. My uneasiness was more difficult to explain. Although...

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Introduction: Rereading Frida Kahlo

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pp. 1-12

IN THE EARLY 1970s Frida Kahlo was only known as a subject for interpretation and admiration among a small academic and artworld audience. Films, exhibitions, and publications produced in the 1970s and early 1980s generated the shift, in the United States, from seeing Kahlo as unsung artist to Frida as venerated heroine. Among her biographers and...

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Frida as a Wife/Artist in Mexico

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pp. 13-53

FRIDA KAHLO’S BIOGRAPHY describes her attitude toward marriage to Diego Rivera as progressing from blissfully bourgeois, to vengefully dishonest, and ultimately to comradely complacent. The chronology of her marriage coincides significantly with her development as an artist. When she was considered an adoring wife, her painting was presumed to...

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Frida of the Blood-Covered Paint Brush

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pp. 54-85

IN THIS CHAPTER I continue my examination of gendered stereotypes, focusing on the complimentarity of femininity and disease. Historically, femaleness and illness (as opposed to femininity and socially relevant creative production) have been remarkably compatible. Diane Price Herndl characterizes “patriarchal culture as potentially sickening for...

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The Language of the Missing Mother

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pp. 86-113

IN 1938, during his first visit to Mexico, André Breton exclaimed that Frida Kahlo’s work had “blossomed forth . . . into pure surreality, despite the fact that it had been conceived without any prior knowledge whatsoever of the ideas motivating” him and his colleagues.1 The same year, Julien Levy invited Kahlo to exhibit in his surrealist-oriented gallery in...

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Unveiling Politics

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pp. 114-149

REEVALUATING KAHLO’S PAINTINGS and theories inscribed in interpretations of her self-portraits demonstrates that the artist’s production was not merely self-centered illustration relevant only to her body and psyche. As Joan Borsa argues, Kahlo’s paintings are “much more complicated, politically engaged and analytically subversive . . . than...

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Fetishizing Frida

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pp. 150-180

POPULAR INTERPRETATIONS OF Frida Kahlo’s paintings make ample reference to the artist’s social position as a Mexican woman married to the famous muralist Diego Rivera, and to the fact that she and Rivera both created works of art during the postrevolutionary decades. But, as I have argued, the complexities of the political, historical, and social...

NOTES

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pp. 181-200

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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pp. 201-208

INDEX

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pp. 209-218