"I don't give a shit what the world thinks. I was born a bitch, I was born a painter, I was born fucked. But I was happy in my way. You did not understand what I am. I am love. I am pleasure, I am essence, I am an idiot, I am an alcoholic, I am tenacious. I am; simply I am...You are a shit."
Although Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) penned these words in an unsent letter to her unfaithful husband, artist Diego Rivera, they allow us a peek into her soul. A paradox of empowerment and vulnerability, the Mexican-born surreal artist is an enigma, in addition to one of history's most influential artists.
Now, the world gets to see her like never before, and Miami has first dibs thanks to M+V Art and their collaboration with the Leo Matiz Foundation.
A selection of 55 unpublished photographs of Frida taken by world renowned Colombian photographer Leo Matiz (1917-1998), were recently discovered in the foundation's archive in Mexico. And 13 of them have made their way to Wynwood for exhibition as part of "Frida Rediscovered." As part of M+V's inaugural opening, the photos debuted to the public on May 23 with great enthusiasm.
"It was my first Art Walk and I was so happy to be there and so many people walked in. It was so gratifying to have young people and older people excited to see these photographs," said Valentina Garcia, the 'V' of M+V, of her experiences after recently moving back to Miami. Garcia spent the last ten years curating in the New York art circuit.
Garcia became aware of the photographs through long-time friend, Alejandra Matiz, daughter of the photographer and president of the Matiz Foundation. "Alejandra was doing inventory in the foundation and they found these photographs in a drawer in a yellow envelope marked "Mexico and friends," Garcia said. The 55 negatives taken in the 1940s have been sitting untouched for the last 40 to 50 years. This is the first collaboration between Matiz and Garcia, which came about after the two spoke over the phone to update each other on their lives. Garcia had just partnered with Mali Parkerson, the M of the duo, to form their artistic advisory company. The two run an artist management and representation team, as well as put on exhibitions in their gallery space in the Wynwood Building. After numerous long-distance talks and two months of planning, "Frida Rediscovered" was born.
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In some photographs, Kahlo's happiness shines through like the sunny afternoon in which these memories were captured, and she can be seen lying in the grass of her garden among friends. Other photographs reveals the underlying anguish in her life. Kahlo is photographed with short hair after cutting off her trademark dark locks upon discovering her husband's infidelities carried out with her sister, Cristina. Her life is preserved in the work of her dear friend Matiz, who is considered to be one of the most important Colombian photographers of the 20th Century. Throughout his life, he collaborated in film projects and documented artists like Kahlo, Rivera, Maria Felix, David-Alvaro Siqueiros, Jose Clemente Orozco, and many others.
M+V has partnered with the Mexican Cultural Institute of Miami to put on a special event for the exhibit this Saturday, in which Matiz's daughter will speak about the photographs and attendees have the chance to ask her about her father's personal relationship with Kahlo. Even more rare is the opportunity to purchase the rare prints on display; imagine owning an original photograph of Kahlo, for less than $4,000. "They're extremely personal, so whoever purchases one is going to have something really special," Garcia told New Times.
"Frida Rediscovered" is open to the public and on exhibition until Friday, July 12, at M+V Art located in the Wynwood Building, 2750 NW Third Ave., Suite 11, Miami. Talk with Alejandra Matiz is also open to the public and takes place Saturday, June 15, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Call 786-431-1186.