The museum thoughtfully provided a Selfie Station.

The museum thoughtfully provided a Selfie Station.

Let me begin by saying I didn’t cry.

And I was pretty sure I would. I mean, I am the person who gets choked up at all manner of awards ceremonies, announcements, thank-you speeches, pageants, sports events, commercials…so I was fully expecting to be a bit messy at the Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera exhibit. However, I managed to hold my self together pretty respectably.

Without giving too much away for the folks that are planning on seeing this exhibit (through August) I was pleased to see a few paintings of Frida’s that I was not familiar with, in addition to many sketches and other works. Dr. Rossman preferred Diego’s work, but I told him it’s probably because he doesn’t understand the beautiful torture of being female. He shrugged.

The exhibit, which is on its only North American stop in Phoenix, is glorious. There were many photos of Frida, as well as a gallery of architectural photos taken by her father, Guillermo Kahlo. There was a luscious installation of the traditional clothing Frida favored, as well. One adorable aside: the groups of high school girls on a school trip dressed in Frida garb. OMG cute. That might have made me tear up a bit.

I saw some of the original prints of photos that have been inspiration for my Frida portraits, which was a treat.

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Yes, I wore heels because I like to dress with a sense of occasion.

The Heard Museum itself, is phenomenal. We spent three hours there, until my feet protested. The permanent collection features a compelling exhibit about the history of America’s Indian schools. I love looking at paintings, but my favorite kind of museums feature tableaus of daily life and artifacts. The Indian School exhibit was fantastic and highly recommended. We still have an Indian School in my current city, Salem, so it was especially moving.

There was also an extensive collection of Katsina dolls and jewelry. I drooled over the turquoise.

Dr. Rossman really dug the Rick Bartow exhibit. It was cool because he was from Oregon.

I’m not exactly sure if I will ever see Frida’s work in person again. It’s very possible that this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it was not without gravity. I was struck by the difference in her commissioned work versus the self-portraits and other paintings she did for herself, without restriction or expectation. There is a passion that comes through in work an artist does for no other reason than the need to do it.

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