Moab Happenings Archive
Return to home

Non-Profit Happenings October 2011


Artes de México en Utah announces ¡VIVA FRIDA! in Moab

Artes de México en Utah and the Moab Valley Multicultural Center are pleased to present ¡Viva Frida!, a celebration of the art of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo and Mexico’s rich artistic traditions. After a successful five-week run in Salt Lake City (September 16 – October 20), ¡Viva Frida! will arrive in Moab on October 30th for a gala opening at the Moab Valley Multicultural Center from 3 to 5 p.m. Following the Gala, it will then be on display at the Museum of Moab for the entire month of November. In addition, upstairs at the museum there will be a display of a series of photographs of Frida taken by photographer Nickolas Muray. ¡Viva Frida! has previously been shown in Tokyo and Las Vegas.

Nickolas Muray, Frida Painting The Two Fridas, 1938, platinum print, Throckmorton Fine Arts, copyright Nickolas Muray Photo Archive
Nickolas Muray, Frida Painting The Two Fridas, 1938, platinum print, Throckmorton Fine Arts, copyright Nickolas Muray Photo Archive

About Viva Frida!
The ¡Viva Frida! celebration centers on an exhibit about the life of world-renowned Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, which will be on display at the Moab Museum from November 1 to November 30, 2011, with a smaller display that includes images of her most graphic work at the Visual Feast Gallery.

“¡Viva Frida! is an opportunity for us to share with the overall community this rich cultural and artistic heritage,” says Bernardo Flores-Sahagún, a board member of Artes de México en Utah, and an architect and designer from Guadalajara, Mexico. “Mexico is much more than what we read in the press today. The traditions of Frida and other artists of her time are very powerful. The art of Frida Kahlo inspires people to be creative and enriches our entire community.”

The ¡Viva Frida! celebration will emphasize an interesting Utah-Mexico art connection. Kahlo crossed paths with several Utahns:
• Pablo O’Higgins (born Paul Higgins, 1904-83), a native of Salt Lake City, Utah, who was an assistant to Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo’s husband.
• Tina Misrachi Martin, whose father was Diego Rivera’s art dealer from 1935-45.
• Mimi Muray Levitt, a Moab resident and daughter of photographer Nickolas Muray, a close friend of Frida’s.
• Joseph Hansen (1910-79), a native of Richfield, Utah, who was the secretary of Leon Trotsky during his exile in Mexico—in part at the Kahlo/Rivera home—from 1937 to 1940, and Hansen’s wife, whom he met the University of Utah, Reba Hooper Hansen, a granddaughter of Heber C. Kimball.

Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait with Medallion, 1948, oil on masonite, 
Private Collection, Mexico
Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait with Medallion, 1948, oil on masonite,
Private Collection, Mexico

The Viva Frida! exhibit documents the life of Kahlo, whose self-portraits have become cultural icons. The display tells the story of Kahlo’s life, from her birth at the beginning of the Mexican Revolution, to her death in 1954, through a series of 33 large panels which include photographs of Frida Kahlo and her husband Diego Rivera, text with information about her life, and high quality digital images of 46 of her most famous paintings. The images of her paintings are from major collections in Mexico, including the Dolores Olmedo Patiño Museum and the Frida Kahlo Museum. The three panels at Visual Feast Gallery are a portion of the exhibit with the theme “How Painting Saved My Life.” They focus on her suffering due to her physical disabilities and inability to have children. Artes de México en Utah has created text and educational materials in both English and Spanish to accompany the exhibits.

Complementing the Viva Frida! display will be an exhibit of the photographs of Nickolas Muray, a New York photographer who took the most famous photographs of Kahlo and who was an intimate friend. This exhibit will also be on display at the Museum of Moab.

About Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo identified with the 1910-21 Mexican Revolution, which sought to bring dignity and self-rule to Mexico after a century of dominance by European interests that followed its 1810 independence from Spain. Kahlo was born in 1907 but changed her birth date to that of the Revolution to align herself with the values of the revolution, including dignity of the worker, compassion for the poor, education for all, and the right of Mexico to control its resources and destiny.
 Nickolas Muray, Untitled, 1939, 
copyright Nickolas Muray Photo Archives
Nickolas Muray, Untitled, 1939,
copyright Nickolas Muray Photo Archives

Born of a German Jewish father and a Mexican Catholic mother, Kahlo chose to identify with her Mexican indigenous ancestors. She often dressed in Tehuana clothing and surrounded herself with Mexican archeological figures and folk art. Her paintings show a connection with indigenous beliefs that value the natural world and its ongoing need for renewal.
Kahlo studied at Mexico’s most prestigious high school, the National Preparatory School, where she saw Diego Rivera painting murals. She met Rivera in 1928, three years after a devastating trolley car accident disabled her for life. The couple’s marriage in 1929 placed her alongside Mexico’s most famous artist – Rivera had been chosen to teach Mexicans the ideals of the Revolution through colorful murals on the walls of public buildings.

Kahlo was at the center of what has been called the Mexican Mural Renaissance, the decades following the Mexican Revolution when art and political idealism combined and gave rise to a creative period the likes of which has rarely been seen in history. This period in Mexican art was influential in the creation of the Works Projects Administration in the U.S. in the 1940s as well as in art of political activism worldwide. Artists everywhere, including in Utah, continue to be influenced by many Mexican artistic traditions including mural painting, graphic art, and folk art.

Overshadowed by her famous, gregarious husband, Kahlo quietly painted small canvases exploring her identity and emotions. But in the late 1930’s her art and life exploded as she suffered through Rivera’s infidelities and her own physical challenges due to illnesses and injuries. Frida used art to heal, and today is an inspiration for many people developing their creativity and seeking to overcome physical and emotional challenges. Although Kahlo received great acclaim for her art during her life, this was primarily in the U.S. and Europe. She did not have a solo exhibit of her art in Mexico until the year before her death.
Free Public Programs and Events
The !Viva Frida! celebration is made possible by funding from the Utah Humanities Council, the Utah Arts Council and Zion’s Bank. In presenting íViva Frida! in Moab, the Moab Valley Multicultural Center has received generous support from additional community partners including the Museum of Moab, Visual Feast Gallery, the Nickolas Muray Photo Archives, and the Consulate of Mexico. In-kind contributions have come from, Moonflower Market, WabiSabi, Wildland Scapes, Dan Budnik, Gayle Weyher, Rusty Wheaton, Cathy Shank, Donna Duncan jewelry of Cozumel, Floyd Humphreys, Exquisite Container Gardens, Marcia and Jim Tendick, Carolyn Dailey, Mimi Levitt, Becky Thomas, Maribel Kheyla Tanner, Leticia Bentley, Shirley O’Kelly, Alina Murdock, the MARC, Miquel’s Baja Grill and many other generous supporters.
For a full listing of íViva Frida! programming in Salt Lake City, please see the website,

Moab Valley Multicultural Center Events

October – November, 2011
All events are free. Donations are welcome – all proceeds to benefit the MVMC

October 28 7:00 p.m. Showing of the film The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo at the MARC with a talk by Susan Vogel of Artes de Mexico en Utah preceding the film and discussion following
October 30 3-5 p.m. Gala opening of 33 íViva Frida! displays at the Moab Valley Multicultural Center with a program of Baile Folklorico dancing, Mexican music, and tastes of Frida food

November 1 – 30 Exhibit of both 30 of the íViva Frida! display panels and 24 of the Nickolas Muray photographs at the Museum of Moab with a smaller exhibit of three of the panels at the Visual Feast Gallery

November 2 4–5 p. m. Celebration of the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) at the Moab Valley Multicultural Center

November 4 5 to 7 p.m. Members only reception at the Museum of Moab with Susan Vogel, Mimi Muray Levitt and Chris Muray

November 10 12 noon to 9:30 p.m. All day marathon of Frida and Mexico films at the MARC – films will include some of the following: When Worlds Collide, The Untold Story of the Americas After Columbus (PBS film), Frida: Naturaleza Viva, Tizoc, Tina in Mexico, Frida, De ida y vuelta, Cabeza de Vaca. There will be a Frida and Diego Look-Alike contest with judging at 7 p.m.

November 12 5 to 8 p.m. November Art Walk and Find Frida Treasure Hunt - Frida Displays to be discovered in each participating gallery with treasure hunt winners drawings at the MVMC at the end of the art walk

Return to Archive Index
return to home
Return to home