Celebrate the Life and Art of Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo: Timeless will be at the Cleve Carney Museum of Art and the McAninch Arts Center at the College of DuPage from June 5 through September 6, 2021 and it’s fantastic. Featuring 26 original works on loan from the Museo Dolores Olmedo, it is the most comprehensive presentation of Kahlo’s work displayed in the Chicago area in over 40 years.

The exhibition also includes a multimedia timeline with replicas of notable objects from Kahlo’s life including Kahlo’s childhood bed and orthotic braces created by Chicago-based artists Daniel Sullivan and Betsy Odom, more than 100 photographic images from the artist’s life, a Frida Kahlo-inspired garden designed by Ball Horticultural Company, and a children’s area featuring a model replica of Frida’s Casa Azul in Coyoacán, Mexico designed by Wight & Co.

We were invited to preview the exhibit and were blown away. The flow through the spaces created a journey through the life of Frida Kahlo and her work. We really enjoyed it!

The Life of Frida Kahlo

The first area of the exhibit gives snapshots of Frida’s life and struggles, along with a timeline to give context to her work. There are replicas of her bed with a mirror up above, which is how she often painted, braces Frida wore after her bus accident at 18 years old and throughout her life, and dresses she wore. The timeline gives helpful snippets to understand her life and how that affected what she was creating. My kids had learned about Frida Kahlo in Spanish class and this section of the exhibit really brought that to life. Kahlo clearly lived with a lot of hurt and hardship, but had a vibrant view of life.

“Nothing is worth more than laughter. It is strength to laugh and to abandon oneself, to be light.”

Frida Kahlo

One of the walls in this section had Frida Kahlo’s thoughts on color from her diary, which is so fascinating!

Photography Exhibit

We then moved down the hall to see photographs of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. It was clear that she did not allow illness to restrict her diverse and intense passions. This section really gave a feel for the time in which Frida Kahlo lived.

Frida Kahlo Paintings

Frida Kahlo, Portrait of Luther Burbank
Credit: Frida Kahlo, Portrait of Luther Burbank, 1931, oil on masonite, Collection Museo Dolores Olmedo, Xochimilco, Mexico © 2020 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

We really enjoyed being able to see Frida Kahlo’s paintings in person. They are very thought provoking and we appreciated them even more after learning more about her history.

“I am not sick. I am broken. But I am happy to be alive as long as I can paint.”

Frida Kahlo

Please note that there are some tough themes in her work, including miscarriage and physical ailments. There is also some nudity. You know your children and what they can handle, but I wanted to give you a heads up just in case. Kids are welcome throughout the exhibit areas.

See also
Family-Friendly Weekend Events: July 30–August 1 and Beyond

Kahlo Kids’ Corner

“I wanted to create a place for children to be inspired by Frida and Mexican culture in a fun and accessible way.”

Diana Martinez, Frida Kahlo: Timeless Executive Director and McAninch Arts Center Director

“Kahlo Kids’ Corner” features illustrations by Mike Venezia, illustrator and author of over 100 Scholastic children’s books including ‘Getting to Know the World’s Great Artists.’ There is also a display of traditional Mexican dolls, Frida-inspired display cake, and an art project designed by the illustrator where kids can try their hand at a self-portrait just like Frida. Venezia also collaborated with the CCMA and the MAC to create “The Frida Kahlo Coloring Book,” available for sale at the gift shop.

There are small tables in the hallway for the littlest guests to participate and create their portrait. As you walk up to the bright, glass-enclosed room, you will be welcomed by a huge Frida Puppet, an animated video adaptation and collaboration by Venezia and Martinez on the life of Frida Kahlo, as well as a mural activity designed by Venezia.

In addition to the portrait activity, two free printmaking workshops are taking place at the Kahlo Kids’ Corner on Tuesday, July 6 and Saturday, August 21, 2021 from 10 am – 2 pm, led by printmaking collective Instituto Gráfico de Chicago. Activities are geared for pre-K through third grade.

For updates on programming for the children’s area visit Frida2021.org.

Frida Kahlo-Inspired Garden

The garden is located right outside the Kahlo Kid’s Corner and was designed by Ball Horticultural. It’s so colorful and the patio provides space for kids to run around a bit before going back into the exhibit spaces.

Tres Fridas Project

The Tres Fridas exhibit is included with admission to Frida Kahlo: Timeless. The collection includes recreations of Dos Fridas, Mona Lisa, Rosie the Riveter, The Last Supper, Whistler’s Mother, Old Guitarist, Christina’s World and more, all with the subjects being people with disabilities.

The project was created by Reveca Torres and Mariam Pare, two artists paralyzed by a spinal cord injury. The artists met online and bonded through art, injury and a deep connection to Frida Kahlo. Soon after, they decided to recreate Frida Kahlo’s painting Dos Fridas using photography, making their own costumes and inserting themselves in the image sitting in their wheelchairs. Photographer and disability advocate, Tara Ahern, connected to the project through her own experience as a woman with muscular dystrophy and scoliosis as well as a shared love of Frida.

See also
Family-Friendly Weekend Events: July 30–August 1 and Beyond

The entire Frida Kahlo: Timeless exhibit and Tres Fridas Project is on the same level and wheelchair accessible, as is the parking lot.

Hours, Tickets, and Location

Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait with Small Monkey
Credit: Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait with Small Monkey, 1945, oil on masonite, Collection Museo Dolores Olmedo, Xochimilco, Mexico © 2020 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Frida Kahlo: Timeless will be on view at the Cleve Carney Museum of Art from June 5 through September 6, 2021 daily from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm. Thursday has later hours and is open until 10:00 pm.

Tickets are $23 plus handling fees for timed entry and $40 plus handling fees to arrive any time (up until an hour before closing) on a certain date. Children ages 3 and under do not require a ticket, but must be carried throughout the Main Gallery or in a soft-sided front carrier. For the month of July, a $10 ticket is available for exhibition access on Tuesday and Thursdays after 2 p.m. using code FRIDA10. (Tickets subject to availability; restrictions apply).

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit Frida2021.org or call (630) 942-4000.

The Cleve Carney Museum of Art is located in the McAninch Arts Center on the College of DuPage campus.

The McAninch Arts Center (the MAC)
College of DuPage
425 Fawell Boulevard
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
(630) 942-4000

COVID-19 Precautions and Rules

Everyone must wear a mask that covers both the nose and mouth. If for some reason you are not willing or able to wear a mask, they suggest you don’t plan to attend. They also take temperatures at the entrance.

Timed entry is in 15 minute increments to ensure that no more than 50 people are in each space at the same time. There are social distancing markers and arrows on the floor throughout the exhibit. We appreciated the flow through the spaces. Not only did it alleviate traffic, it gave a prescribed order that helped to fully understand and appreciate the exhibit.

Food and drink are not permitted, there isn’t a coatroom, and bags larger than 13” x 17” x 4” are not allowed inside.

Other Local Events Celebrating Frida Kahlo

Photo by Nickolas Muray; © Nickolas Muray Photo Archives

Fans of Frida Kahlo will also want to check out these events happening concurrently with Frida Kahlo: Timeless.

Find Frida Scavenger Hunt
June 1-30, 2021
Downtown Glen Ellyn

Pick up a map at The Bookstore of Glen Ellyn, then find all 20 Frida dolls. Turn in your completed card before July 3 at the Glen Ellyn Public Library to be entered to win prizes.

See also
Family-Friendly Weekend Events: July 30–August 1 and Beyond

Frida Fridays
June 4, July 9, and August 6, 2021 | 2:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Downtown Wheaton

Join the celebration in downtown Wheaton in connection with the Frida Kahlo: Timeless exhibit at the Cleve Carney Museum of Art. Fun activities are planned for everyone from family-friendly daytime celebrations to evening adult festivities. Enjoy the festive atmosphere walking through downtown Wheaton including folklore dancers, walking Fridas, mariachi band, Frida-inspired art, Frida-inspired menus, and more than 40 windows of art.

Frida Kahlo: Timeless Photo Op and Giveaway
June 5 – August 31, 2021
Yorktown Center, Lombard

Take a photo with their Frida Kahlo-inspired photo op in Center Court anytime from June 5 – August 31, then post your photo to Instagram and tag @YorktownCenter (make sure your profile is public so they can see it). @YorktownCenter will direct message (DM) you with your choices for your $10 gift card.*

*Offer limited to the first 50 people who complete offer redemption, limit one $10 gift card per person.

Find Frida Scavenger Hunt Celebration
June 21-27, 2021
Glen Ellyn Public Library

Participate in a collaborative art project in the Youth Department, take a selfie in front of the Frida Fest Community Mural in the Internet Lab on the 2nd floor, and take home a free kit to paint and display Frida-inspired art. Kits will be available in the Youth Department and at the drive-up window while supplies last. The Cafe will also be featuring a Frida-inspired cookie for purchase.

Art on the MART
July 5 – September 16, 2021
Wacker Drive between Wells Street and Franklin Street, Chicago

This light projection piece will feature several of Kahlo’s most recognizable works including Self Portrait with Small Monkey (1945) and Self Portrait in a Velvet Dress (1926) and accompanied by an orchestral score from Mexican composer Arturo Márquez, recorded by New Philharmonic. It is best experienced from the jetty section of the Chicago Riverwalk on Wacker Drive between Wells Street and Franklin Street.

Frida Kahlo Experience Passport for Discounts
June 5 – September 6, 2021
DuPage Country Visitors Bureau

The Frida Kahlo Experience Passport is a collection of hotels, experiences and restaurants offering deals and discounts to redeem during your visit. Head to the Discover DuPage website to sign up and you will receive a text or email with the passport. Then when visiting a participating venue, present your phone to the attendant to redeem available discounts.

For more family-friendly events, head to the Kidlist calendar. If you want to check out more local art, we have reviews on the most talked about exhibits, including Immersive Van Gogh Chicago and Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel.

About the Author

Annie Tandy
Annie loves making great memories with her kids and started Kidlist in 2011 so she can help others do the same! Besides finding fun and exciting things to do, Annie and her kids enjoy caring for their chickens and hanging out with them in the backyard. Click here to read about Annie's chickens and see pictures! She also finds joy in gardening, home improvement projects, knitting, soap making, and painting along with being active in her community, church, and as a board member of the Western Springs Business Association. Click here to follow Annie on Instagram.

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