Fridolatry: Frida Kahlo and Material Culture

by Ellen C. Caldwell
for JSTOR Daily

Recently, rare video footage of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera has gone viral. Though both Kahlo and Rivera are both known for their torrid love affair and their enduring and individual artistic legacies, Kahlo has also become a sign of material culture herself, with her recognizable face on gift bags, clothing, cupcakes, keychains, tiles, and other memorabilia.

Lis Pankl and Kevin Blake examine the multiplicity and complexity of Kahlo’s historiography,analyzing the role of material culture that Frida Kahlo draws upon in her own work as well as the material culture surrounding the rise of her image itself as an internationally recognized icon. They argue that “Kahlo’s appropriation and production of material culture began even in her own lifetime and continues to multiply at an astonishing pace in the current milieu.”

The cult of Kahlo (also called “Fridamania,” “Fridolatry,” and “Kahloism”) has made her face as famous as her art itself…

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