May 16 through Nov. 1 2015

May 16 — Nov. 1 2015

Left: Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, 1940. Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin. © 2014 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

This blockbuster exhibition is the first to examine Frida Kahlo’s keen appreciation for the beauty and variety of the natural world, as evidenced by her home and garden as well as the complex use of plant imagery in her artwork. Featuring a rare display of more than a dozen original Kahlo paintings and works on paper, this limited six-month engagement also reimagines the iconic artist’s famed garden and studio at the Casa Azul, her lifelong home in Mexico City. Beginning October 23, see an ofrenda—an altar decorated with traditional Mexican images, flowers, sugar skulls, and other mementos—created in homage to Kahlo for Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos), the Mexican celebration of departed family members.

Accompanying events invite visitors to learn about Kahlo’s life and enduring cultural influence through music, lectures, Frida al Fresco evenings, Mexican-inspired shopping and dining experiences, and hands-on art activities for kids. As a complement to your visit, use our new mobile guide to see rare photos and footage, listen to expert commentary, and create your own Frida Selfie to share with friends.


Thanks to all who visited during our FRIDA KAHLO exhibition in 2015! While the show has concluded, you can still enjoy it through our FRIDA KAHLO Mobile Guide.

In the News Slideshow

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The LuEsther T. Mertz Library’s Art Gallery exhibition, curated by Adriana Zavala, Ph.D., features 14 of Kahlo’s paintings and works on paper—many borrowed from private collections— highlighting the artist’s use of botanical imagery in her work. Focusing on her lesser-known yet equally spectacular still lifes, as well as works that engage nature in unusually symbolic ways, this grouping includes Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird (1940); Flower of Life (1944); Still Life with Parrot and Flag (1951); and Self-Portrait Inside a Sunflower (1954).

The Library building's fourth floor features Artist in Residence Humberto Spíndola’s The Two Fridas, which brings Frida Kahlo’s famous double self-portrait of the same name to life in a three-dimensional installation. Replicas of the iconic dresses Kahlo wears in her painting are rendered in fine tissue paper and tinted with pigments to achieve the effect of fabrics of different textures. The garments are displayed on seated dress forms crafted from reeds that have been molded into human forms.

Wait time to enter the Art Gallery may vary; ask an attendant for details at the time of your visit.

Exhibitions in the Mertz Library are made possible by the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust. Additional support has been provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and by a Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Sponsored by Carolina Herrera

Photo: Casa Azul, Mexico City, 2014

The Haupt Conservatory comes alive with the colors of Kahlo’s Mexico, greeting visitors with an evocation of the artist’s garden at the Casa Azul (Blue House), her lifelong home. Passing through blue courtyard walls, visitors stroll along paths lined with flowers, showcasing a variety of important garden plants from Mexico. A scale version of the artist’s pyramid—created to display pre-Hispanic art collected by her husband, muralist Diego Rivera—features traditional terra-cotta pots filled with Mexican cacti and succulents. Beginning October 23, the pyramid becomes an ofrenda, an altar created in celebration of Día de los Muertos featuring traditional mementos such as marigolds, sugar skulls, and images of Kahlo. The exhibition includes a reimagining of Kahlo’s studio overlooking the garden, as well as the organ pipe cactus fence located at Rivera’s studio in nearby San Ángel. Experience the Casa Azul as an expression of Kahlo’s deep connection to Mexico and to the natural world.

The ofrenda is an original commission created by artist Andrea Arroyo and presented as part of Celebrate México Now, a citywide festival of contemporary Mexican art and culture produced by CN Management.

Photo: Casa Azul, Mexico City, 2014     

The lively culture and style of Frida Kahlo’s Mexico come to life at the Garden, highlighting the influences behind the artist’s famed work through dance, music, food, and film. Visitors can delight in the spirit of the exhibition during weekend festivities featuring contemporary sets of traditional Mexican songs, in addition to hands-on, family-friendly activities and shopping. Ballet folklórico dance performances and Mexican fare—including some of Kahlo’s own recipes—make for a full day of upbeat and colorful entertainment.

The Mexico City of Frida and Diego

This fascinating panel exhibition in the Ross Gallery presents museums and other sites in Mexico City where Kahlo’s and Rivera’s artwork and personal collections can be viewed, conveying the scope of their artistic and intellectual contributions to the cultural life of Mexico.
Explore the panel exhibition (PDF).

Exhibitions in the Ross Gallery are made possible by the Arthur and Janet Ross Fund.

Sponsored by Mexico Tourism Board

     Photo: Frida with Idol, 1939 © Nickolas Muray Photo Archives

Guest Curator

Adriana Zavala, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of modern and contemporary Latin American art history and Director of Latino Studies at Tufts University. Zavala has curated several exhibitions and published widely on Mexican art. Her book Becoming Modern, Becoming Tradition: Women, Gender, and Representation in Mexican Art (Penn State University Press, 2010) was awarded the Arvey Prize by the Association for Latin American Art in 2011.

Guest Designer

Scott Pask is an award-winning scenic designer who received a Bachelor of Architecture degree and a Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Arizona and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Yale School of Drama. He designed NYBG’s Monet’s Garden in 2012 and The Orchid Show: On Broadway in 2011. He has won Tony awards for his work on The Book of Mormon, The Pillowman, and The Coast of Utopia. His recent Broadway productions include Finding Neverland, Something Rotten, The Visit, It’s Only a Play, I’ll Eat You Last with Bette Midler, and the hit revivals Pippin, Promises Promises, HAIR, and Nine. He designed Amaluna for Cirque du Soleil, which is currently touring the world.

Artists in Residence

As Musical Artists in Residence, the Villalobos Brothers use their musical involvement throughout the run of FRIDA KAHLO: Art, Garden, Life to support two overarching themes: the connection of Mother Nature to art and music, and the role and mission of the artist to serve as a catalyst for social change. Their musical showcases include the exhibition’s opening and closing weekend celebrations, two Frida al Fresco evening performances, and the highly anticipated Canciones de mi Padre Concert. The Villalobos Brothers are renowned for blending the indigenous rhythms and melodies of their native Veracruz with the intricate harmonies of jazz and classical music. They are winners of WNYC’s Battle of the Boroughs 2013 and have performed at the Apollo Theater, the Latin Grammys, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, BAM, and The Kennedy Center.

Artist in Residence Humberto Spíndola is an accomplished artist whose primary medium is paper. His techniques have origins in traditional Mexican crafts dating back more than 1,500 years, and build a connection between ancient indigenous Mexican cultures and contemporary international artistic currents. His skill with these techniques has led to the collection of his works by prestigious institutions such as the British Museum.

Select Thursdays & Fridays
May 16–August 27; 6:30–9:30 p.m.
September 10–October 30; 6:30–11 p.m.

Get Tickets

Enjoy these festive evenings out at the Garden by experiencing FRIDA KAHLO: Art, Garden, Life after hours, with the vivid colors of fall as your setting. Stroll through Kahlo's beloved Casa Azul reimagined in the Conservatory, see rare works in the Art Gallery—and then transport yourself to Mexico without leaving New York via live music and performance art in the spirit of the changing seasons, all enjoyed with a complimentary Modelo Especial draft cerveza or Jose Cuervo Tradicional margarita. There are many ways to enjoy these exclusive evenings, with a varied schedule of performers and events planned throughout September, October, and the lead up to Día de los Muertos. Get more info.

Generous support for the Summer Concert Series is provided by
Vivian and Edward Merrin.