The Hidden World of Girls listens in to two teenage girls contemplating Freida Kahlo’s art and love life. The girls were practicing their miking techniques in one of our Kitchen Sisters workshops, when Monica Guerra pulled out her iPod touch to show Zoe Solnave some of her favorite paintings. A seldom heard girls-eye-view on art history and life.
MONICA: I love ‘The Broken Column’ by Frida Kahlo. It’s on my iTouch. It’s like 1944, “The Broken Column” by her. It’s the one where she’s like…naked. Her whole spine is this pillar, sort of as if someone broke it and they pieced it together with like cheap glue and tape.
You see her breasts and you also see this back brace clutching onto her. Then you have these nails in her skin and it’s like one of those helpless situations. You know, you find yourself like, “You know, I really want to change this!” But you can’t do anything about it ‘cause you’re stuck. If you move, everything’s going to fall down and break.
ZOE: That painting was painted because she broke her spine. I think and she got a back brace. She really hated being sick and stuck. Her really gory pictures I never really liked. I always thought she had a lot of mental illness and physical ailing that really took a toll on her mind. And I remember seeing a picture of her when she was in a wheelchair. She didn’t look happy at all and she was in a horrible relationship with a…
MONICA: Diego Rivera?
ZOE:…A fat, mean man.
ZOE: He was a really good artist, but I don’t see how he was a ladies’ man.
MONICA: ‘Cause he had sex with everyone apparently! He even had sex with his…Frida Kahlo’s sister and that was when they had the whole divorce thing.
ZOE: Yeah. Right. Like, he did cheat on Frida Kahlo a bunch of times, but, he wasn’t cute.
MONICA: But I do like the message his artwork does show. One of these is this one right here…photos…oops (searches through photos on her phone). It’s this one of this guy right here with this huge basket he has on his back, filled with flowers. And you’d think flowers are light, really light. But there’s these thousands of flowers in there and there’s this lady helping him up.
MONICA: And there’s this other painting I saw. Cortez is in it. And he’s making a deal with this guy and you have all these natives in the back, they’re being branded and they’re dying.
I wish I could see all of his murals in full because all the ones on the internet are just little snippets.
ZOE: It’s so weird. Artists really do live on…You think about, you know, Van Gogh, or Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. They died and then their art became really popular. They lived on past their expiration date.