Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Detroit

DYP blogger, Hayley Steinkopf, recently visited the DIA for the highly anticipated Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Detroit exhibit.  Have you been? If not, what are you waiting for?! With 100% certainty, we can definitely agree that this experience lived up to the hype and it's one that you don't want to miss.  According to Hayley, here's why:



“Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo were an explosive couple. He carried a pistol. She carried a flask. He romanticized Detroit. She rejected it. But what they shared was a belief in communism, a thirst for tequila and a passion for each other. Discover how they left their mark on Detroit.”

- dia.org

Ending July 12th, The Diego and Frida exhibit at the DIA is not one to miss. Curated in English and Spanish, one will receive a headset and remote to listen and view a more in depth explanation of the works of art. About an hour to an hour and a half long, you will learn the history of Diego’s purpose of coming to Detroit and Frida’s resistance to follow. 

Entering the exhibit, the first image you see is taken from afar; Diego embracing Frida next to one the murals that he is working on. This is the beginning of the journey you take through the exhibit, the story of two artists with two different outlooks on the city they called their home for a short time.

Rivera was invited to Detroit by Wilhelm Valentiner (which Edsel Ford made a generous contribution to do so) in 1932 to create the Detroit Industry murals which are located in the Rivera Court. While Rivera embraced Detroit and the rise of the auto industry, Frida was not as enthralled. Her work depicted a darker side of her time here and how much she missed Mexico, but without coming to Detroit the art she created would not exist. While Diego was the headliner, Kahlo brought some more creativity to this collaboration. Her work was raw and emotional.

Married, divorced and then married again, Rivera and Kahlo’s relationship was anything but ordinary.  Even though they were both unfaithful at times, they supported each other as artists even when they were separated. In one of the murals, Rivera edits a part out to add “life” as to depict the miscarriage that Kahlo had while living in Detroit.

Part of the exhibit is solely dedicated to the murals that are in Rivera Court. The murals are explained in detail from the beginning of the process to the end. In just less than a year, the 27 murals were completed. These frescoes represent the rise of the auto industry and the appeal of Detroit during this time and also the experience that Kahlo and Rivera had.

Through the exhibit you see the history of Detroit mixed with an imprint of Mexican culture (which Kahlo missed dearly) and the impact it had on Rivera and Kahlo’s careers. While Rivera’s work was very much representative of what he came there to do, Kahlo’s work came as a surprise-and a good one indeed. As she once said, “Of course, he does pretty well for a little boy, but it is I who am the big artist.”


Don't forget, the exhibit ends on July 12th. Click HERE to get tickets and a first hand look at the passion that erupted in Detroit.