Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Mae West: Mexicana

Most people have not seen MAE WEST featured in a Frida Kahlo painting.
• • Reportedly Diego Rivera’s favorite American actress, the Brooklyn bombshell appears in a cameo on the left side of the work titled "My Dress Hangs There." Created with oil and collage on masonite [460 x 500 mm], it is owned by a private collector and, therefore, it rarely tours.
• • Frida Kahlo — — who was born and died during the month of July — — [6 July 1907 — 13 July 1954] was a Mexican painter, who has achieved great international popularity.
• • The painter Diego Rivera [8 December 1886 — 24 November 1957] was her husband.
• • Critic Janice Helland wrote an essay about Frida Kahlo's paintings that were inspired by her American sojourn. According to Janice Helland, in "My Dress Hangs There" [1933], Kahlo scourges the United States with representations of the accoutrements of a bourgeois life-style (a toilet, a telephone, and a sports trophy) and indicts its hypocrisy by wrapping a dollar sign around the cross of a church. Her appropriated photographs of Depression-era unemployment, which constitute the lower part of the picture, juxtapose "reality" with the "made-up" painting and thereby highlight the vulgar display of American wealth and well-being as opposed to the poverty and suffering of the lower classes. In the midst of this Kahlo places a pristine image: the Tehuana dress. . . .
• • Let's accept the fact that Helland is well informed about art interpretation and Kahlo iconography. However, she and the others who insist on dating this artwork to 1933 are quite obviously not Mae-mavens.
• • One look at the millinery indicates that Mae West wore that costume in "Klondike Annie," a motion picture not released in the United States until 21 February 1936.
• • So tell us again: in what year did Frida Kahlo channel "Klondike Annie" for her collage filled with her sarcastic humor? It was NOT in 1933.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/

• • Photo:
• • Mae West • • Frida Kahlo painting
• •

Mae West.

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