New York Botanical Garden Recreates Frida Kahlo’s Mexico City Garden
Art & Design
The New York Botanical Garden has an unusual blockbuster exhibit on its hand this summer, thanks to the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Kahlo, whose cult following rivals that of no other woman artist, was famously inspired by horticulture—evidenced in the lush plants and flowers that were recurring themes in both her paintings and in her expressive fashion statements.
For this inspired collaboration between the New York Botanical Garden and guest curator, the Latin American scholar Adriana Zavala, Kahlo’s lesser known lifelong project—a gorgeously landscaped garden and courtyard at Casa Azul (Blue House), the Mexico City home she shared with her husband, Diego Rivera—has been impressively recreated as a series of meandering pathways and constructions densely packed with the native flowers, plants and trees visitors to the real Casa Azul will find familiar.
Juxtaposed with a dozen original Kahlo canvases and works on paper, the exhibit—which also replicates the water fountains and vivid blue-dominated color palette that defines Casa Azul—aims to directly connect Kahlo’s engagement with nature to the complex iconography in her richly illustrated and endlessly analyzed paintings.
For Kahlo fanatics—who have yet another lens from which to view their tragic artist—and weekend gardeners, who’ll find themselves sighing in envy at thickets of cascading pink bougainvillea, there may be no more creative way to spend a summer afternoon in New York than at Frida Kahlo’s garden.
Photos: Promila Shastri