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ART IMITATES A LIFE

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Timed for the release of the Salma Hayak bio-pic "Frida," about the inspirational Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, the Latin American folk art shop Patrias [167 Fifth Ave., (718) 857-9091] in Park Slope is celebrating her legacy with an exhibit of Kahlo-inspired folk art, jewelry, home furnishings, books and paper products. Also included in the exhibit is a series of rare photographs of Kahlo taken by her long-time friend and lover, photographer Nickolas Muray.

"Frida Kahlo is inspiration to millions of people who appreciate not only the exquisite beauty of her artwork, but how she was able to turn the tragedies of her life into creative expression," said Patrias owner Paulina Perez Bemporad. "For folk artists throughout Mexico and the United States, Frida has become a revered icon that represents women’s anguish and strength."

Born in 1907 to a Hungarian-Jewish father and a mother of Spanish and Mexican Indian descent, Kahlo survived polio, and at 15, entered the premedical program at the National Preparatory School in Mexico City. But three years later she was seriously injured in a bus accident that left her in bed for over a year recovering from fractures of her back, collarbone and ribs, as well as a shattered pelvis and shoulder and foot injuries. She underwent more than 30 subsequent operations, and spent the rest of her life in pain. She died at age 47.

During her career, which began in 1927, Kahlo painted mostly self-portraits and still lifes. At 21, she fell in love with the Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, 20 years her senior, and the two shared a passion for art and politics. They were married in 1929 and endured a stormy but passionate relationship. The two traveled to the United States and France often, and the renowned Rivera, whom she divorced and later remarried, introduced Kahlo to many luminaries from the worlds of art and politics. Her career peeked in the 1940s, although her popularity soared posthumously in the 1980s with the publication of several Kahlo biographies.

The Muray photographs were taken in the winter of 1938-’39 when the two were reportedly at the height of a 10-year love affair. The two remained friends until her death in 1954.

Bemporad is shown at left with a number of Patrias’ Kahlo-flavored offerings, including the bamboo curtain behind her.

For more information on the exhibit, call the shop or visit their Web site at www.patrias.com.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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