Frida Kahlo museum in Mexico City
Frida Kahlo is, in fact, Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo Calderon. Frida Kahlo the Mexican artist that became an icon in the popular culture of the 20th century. Now in the 21st century, she is still popular and still an icon. Although there is critic about her style, which is considered surrealistic, she is a very realistic artist. We can see this in her words “I am the subject I know best”. Maybe her paintings are extraordinary because she could reflect herself in every way, on her canvas.
“I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality”
When we arrived in Mexico after Cuba, we started to read more about Frida Kahlo and her museum. We were very curious about her and her life. We searched for more than just the popular information and her famous quotes. We loved doing this in Mexico and the streets she lived in.
In this post, we want to give you a little bit of information about the life of Frida Kahlo and useful information about the Frida Kahlo museum in Mexico City.
Next, to this, we will share a rumor a good Mexican friend told us about the work of Frida Kahlo and the museum. We are sure you will be very surprised to read this.
The life of Frida Kahlo
Frida was born on July 6, 1907, as the 3rd daughter (out of 4) of Wilhelm Kahlo, Hungarian Jewish photographer, and Matilde Calderon Gonzales, with an Indian background. But she announced her birthday as July 7, 1910, the date of the Mexican revolution. After she was born, her mother was sick and Frida was raised by an Indian nursing mother.
Later she reflected the impact of this on her paintings. Frida saw her mother as too religious and was more close to her father. Bad luck hit her at an early age. Due to polio, her right leg was weaker than her left. This left her with the nickname of “Peg-leg Frida” during her school days.
This is why she close to wear long skirts her whole life. Despite being the 3rd girl of the family, Frida was raised as a boy. She got a good education. She was one of only 35 girls to attend Escuela National Preparatoria school, a prestigious school of 2000 students. This school guided her in art, literature, and philosophy.
During her education, she joined a political group of intellectual bohemians. When Frida was just 18, she and her boyfriend, Alejandro, got onto the bus to head home from school. Shortly after the bus crashed into a trolley car. Frida was badly injured during this accident. A long pier of steel pierced her from her hip all the way to her pelvic bone. Frida sustained multiple injuries; a broken pelvic bone, spinal column, and other severe injuries.
After the incident, she needed a bed rest for a recovery of several months. Her life started to exist out of corsets, lots of surgeries, doctors, and hospitals. She endured 32 surgeries. Interestingly it was this event that led her to painting. Her father build mechanics for her to see the object in her room and placed a mirror above her head. Frida started to make paintings of herself. It was a way to get her mind off the pain she was in.
At the end of 1927 Frida was able to walk again and during this period she started to connect with people from art and political environments. In 1929 she became a member of the Mexican Communist Party. As if her pains weren’t enough, Frida fell in love with the popular and hard to get along with Marxists mural painter, Diego Rivera. She married this man who was 21 years older than her in 1929. Despite the fact that Diego was a fat, unattractive man, he was very popular, especially among the women around him. He couldn’t stay faithful to Frida. He even cheated on her with her sister Cristina. Frida, who had serious health problems, an abortion and 2 miscarriages, divorced Diego in 1939 due to infidelity. But after only a few years they remarried.
Frida didn’t get much recognition for her work during her life. Her commercial rise started in 1938 when she accompanied Diego during a work-related trip to the USA. She received credits for her paintings during a solo exhibition of her work in Paris (1939). One of her paintings was bought by the Louvre museum and got the title: first 20th-century Mexican artist. In 1943 Frida became a lecturer at the art school La Esmeralda. Despite that her health was getting worse, she kept teaching at this school for 10 years.
After a while, her condition became very bad. Her overconsumption of alcohol and cigarets made her downfall faster. In the meantime, one of her legs got amputated. In 1953 Mexico City, she had her first solo exhibition in her own country. Against her doctors’ advice, Frida attended her exhibition from her bed, carried by truck to her gallery. Frida died on July 13, 1954, due to “pulmonary embolism”. The house where she passed away is now a museum, known as Casa Azul, (the blue house), where you can find everything about Frida Kahlo.
The museum, (Casa Azul), is a bit far from the center. But public transportation is well arranged in Mexico City, you won’t have trouble getting there. The best way to get somewhere in the city is by metro, but you can also take a taxi or Uber. Coyaocan is a nice place to wander around after a visit to the museum.
Interesting rumor about the work of Frida Kahlo and the museum
So let’s get back to the rumor about Frida Kahlo’s work and the museum. It’s a rumor that’s only known among Mexicans. When we told our Mexican friend that we wanted to visit the museum, he told us that he will tell us something about the museum. Because he didn’t want to affect our opinion about Frida’s work, he told us that he will tell it afterward. He told us that Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera weren’t as famous as today. The reason that they became icons is that the interest of Madonna in Frida’s work. In fact, Frida’s blue house and her work apparently belong to Madonna. By paying a large amount of money to the family, Madonna got all right belonging to the house and the art. Due to this, there has been an immense large marketing campaign and this is why, according to our friend, 2 regular people became this famous all over the world. We started thinking after we heard about this. It might be true because Frida really got famous in the last few years and all kinds of products related to Frida have been sold and she became a part of pop culture.
Useful information about the museum
Address: Londres 247 Col. Del Carmen Del. Coyoacán C.P.
How to get there: You can use the light green metro 3 line to get to the museum. The closest metro station is M. A. De Quevedo. But do note that there is still 2,5km distance between the metro station and the museum. You can use the taxi from here. If you want to walk, it takes 30 minutes. It’s almost like we hear you say: isn’t there a bus going. There is but Mexico City is a big city and it gets very crowded. So to save time, the best way is to go by metro.
Visiting days and hours:
Tuesday: 10:00 – 17:45
Wednesday: 11:00 – 17:45
Thursday till Sunday: 10:00 – 17:45
You can get tickets at the door. However, there is an important issue. At the entrance of the museum, you will find 2 lines. One is for purchasing the tickets, the other is for people who bought their tickets online. What we want to say is that you can save time by purchasing your tickets online here. You don’t need to print the tickets, you can just show the barcode on your phone. Tickets at the door are 200 MXN and online 214 MXN.
When entering the museum:
- Backpacks and umbrellas are not allowed
- Food and drinks are prohibited
- Baby strollers are not allowed
- Hats and colored glasses are prohibited
- Sharp objects and guns are prohibited
- Pets are not allowed
Note: You can leave your belongings in the cloakroom for free (except for the pets of course 🙂 ).
Inside the museum:
- It’s not allowed to talk on the phone
- No video recordings
- You can take as much pictures and videos as you like, only at the garden
After all these rules, let us add to the list that it’s forbidden to take pictures unless you get permission to do so for 30 MXN. You receive a sticker after payment. This way the guards inside know you can take pictures and leave you alone. We didn’t pay like most people. They do watch, but to be honest you can still take pictures without paying useless money for it. Although this goes for mobile phones, it would be too difficult to take pictures with an SLR photo-camera.
Other costs and services:
- The cloakroom is for free, you can leave your stuff behind and get a number
- Taking pictures without flash 30MXN
- Video guide 80MXN (available in English and Spanish)
- Flyer 30MXN (it’s interesting that this is not for free)
- Flyer for children 10MXN (even for kids it’s available only with money)
- Book 2.500 MXN
- Workshop 40MXN (On Saturdays between 12:00-14:00)