Marja-Leena Rathje
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experiencing art


Lenny writes an interesting art blog at Washington, DC Art News. Today he writes about how he came to chosen to be the curator for the upcoming "Homage to Frida Kahlo" exhibition. (The call for artists will be announced soon by Art.com.)

Lenny writes about seeing Frida Kahlo's work for the first time in 1975 in Mexico: "I remember walking into the museum salon where the Two Fridas hung. It was love, or more like witchcraft, at first sight. This large, spectacular painting swallowed my visual senses and attention as no work of art would do again until..."

He became "obsessed'" by her work, and in 1997, together with the Mexican Cultural Institute he curated a highly successful exhibition of Kahlo's work in Washington, DC. He writes that "The love affair then produced in 2002 a show of my own work titled "Passion for Frida: 27 Years of Frida Kahlo Artwork." With this obvious passion for and knowledge of her work, he was thus invited to be curator for this new exhibition.

Now I love Frida Kahlo's work, which I saw two years ago at the Vancouver Art Gallery, but what particularly struck me about this story, is the EXPERIENCE of seeing art that draws a powerful response within the viewer.

A new blogger, Stacy Oborn wrote about this experience recently:
"...when you encounter work that, to borrow van gogh's language, 'hits the yellow high note', it is at once made known to you that what you are responding to is an articulation of your aesthetic that you had yet to realize, something within that you are confronted with, and that once confronted you know that your task is to find a way to wrench it from your being and put it out in front of you. like that which you are looking at, but to have it come from you."

Marja-Leena | 05/09/2004 | 1 comment
themes: Being an Artist, Concepts, Other artists


1 comment

The experience of seeing emotive work like Frida's pushes many different buttons. The aesthetic rush comes from the punch of the colour and boldness of her imagery. Followed by intense curiosity about narrative content, then feelings of compassion and sisterhood - like Paula Rego she exposes the most intimate pain. So one is engaged in her autobiography and privy to her creative catharsis.

I am interested in this extra stimulus which has some of the same attraction as reading tabloid reportage - her story excites - the Diego Rivera saga, the switchback life. 'True confessional' art has added power to engage and attract.