The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago presents Unbound: Contemporary Art After Frida Kahlo, featuring artworks that resonate with issues and ideas explored by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Drawing primarily from work in the MCA Collection and local private collections, the exhibition positions Kahlo’s transgressive work with artists working today. Unbound: Contemporary Art After Frida Kahlo is on view May 3 to October 5, 2014, and is organized by MCA Curator Julie Rodrigues Widholm, with Marjorie Susman Curatorial Fellow Abigail Winograd.
Frida Kahlo is arguably one of the most famous artists in the world and her reputation and persona have grown immensely since her death in 1954. Her celebrity status has sometimes overshadowed the confrontational and bold nature of her paintings. At the time it was made, Frida Kahlo’s intimate portrayal of her physical and psychological experiences and her appropriation of Mexican folk art aesthetics challenged the bourgeois European mainstream. Her work disrupted accepted notions of gender, sexuality, social class, and ethnicity, and anticipated the broader cultural concerns – post-colonialism, feminism, civil rights, multiculturalism, and globalization – that would emerge in the 1960s and continue today.
In 1978, the MCA presented Kahlo’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States. Unbound: Contemporary Art After Frida Kahlo uses two of the works included in that original 1978 exhibition, and places her work alongside more than thirty international contemporary artists. The selected artists in this exhibition share Kahlo’s spirit of rebellion and, similarly to Kahlo, are interested in being part of current conversations on contemporary art and culture. The exhibition is organized around four themes from Kahlo’s paintings: the performance of gender; issues of national identity; the political body; and the absent or traumatized body.
The exhibition includes work by Francis Alÿs and Enrique Huerta, Margot Bergman, Sanford Biggers, Louise Bourgeois, Martin Soto Climent, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Eugenio Dittborn, Yang Fudong, Julio Galan, Nan Goldin, Thomas Houseago, Frida Kahlo, Nelson Leirner, José Leonilson, Ana Mendieta, Beatriz Milhazes, Donald Moffett, Celia Alvarez Muñoz, Wangechi Mutu, Shirin Neshat, Helio Oiticica, Catherine Opie, Gabriel Orozco, Angel Otero, Jack Pierson, Rosângela Rennó, Daniela Rossell, Doris Salcedo, Cindy Sherman, Lorna Simpson, and Valeska Soares.