Frida Kahlo

Face to Face
with Frances Borzello. Frida Kahlo: Face to Face. Prestel. 2010. 272p. illus. ISBN 9783791343600. $65. FINE ARTS
Popular feminist artist Chicago shares her interpretation of this Mexican mega-artist with Borzello (Seeing Ourselves: Women's Self-Portraits). Two essays and nine chapters feature their short comments on 100 of Kahlo's paintings, presented topically. They focus on her body of work rather than view her opus through a tragic lens as other authors have done. They are successful when pinpointing feminist references and objectively exploring Kahlo's iconography. Chicago's response is often personal and visceral, while Borzello's is calm and informative; both succumb to biographical allusions, e.g., when Chicago admits her reaction to the affair between Kahlo's younger sister Cristina and Kahlo's then-husband, Diego Rivera. This large, fine-art eye-candy volume also references other feminist artworks on its colorful heavy stock pages. The writing is conversational but does not always provide consistent interpretative interplay. The lack of thorough documentation and an index as well as intermittent page numbering may frustrate academics.
VERDICT A pleasant dip into the iconic works of this ubiquitous celebrity. Recommended for comprehensive circulating art collections and Kahlo, feminist, and Chicago fans.

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