Visiting the Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City
One of the first things I did when I arrived in Mexico City was to visit the Frida Kahlo museum. Not because I was DYING to go, but because I had slipped and fallen on a wet marble floor in Morelia the day before and my ankle was still quite tender, which meant that my plans to wander around the city would have to wait. Thankfully I have six days in the city, so there is plenty of time to explore.
My first introduction to Frida Kahlo came earlier this year (did you just gasp?) when I went to a Frida and Diego exhibit in Toronto. Before that time all I knew (or remembered from high school and life in general) was that she had a unibrow, she was Mexican, she was an artist, and Selma Hayek portrayed her in a movie.
Yes, I took art all through high school. Yes, I should have known more. Truth be told, I’m more into Renaissance art. But I digress…
I arrived at the museum just before opening to a line of people, a warm sun, and an almost empty pocket (It cost 300 pesos to take a taxi to the museum because my hotel was out in the burbs. Ugh!). As I stood in line I leaned against La Casa Azul (Blue House, the other name for the museum) and wondered what I would encounter inside. Why is this place so popular? Is there a lot of art inside? Her bed? A bunch of clothing? I had no idea.
The cost to get in and take photos came to 120 pesos ($10) which are pretty good. With a special tag affixed to my camera strap, I walked into the first room and slowly looked over some of her paintings. I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed. I was hoping there would be at least one or two paintings similar to those I had seen on exhibit in Toronto, but then again that visiting Casa Azul is not really about seeing Frida Kahlo’s paintings, it’s about catching a glimpse of her life. Seeing where she created, where she ate, and even where she slept.
Each of the rooms in the house is small. The first two or three display works of art by both Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. The fourth room displays a variety of ceramics and glassware displayed on wooden shelves painted in bright yellow. From there we are gently guided to look at her kitchen, and then up a small flight of stairs to a room where her books and artist tools are displayed. It’s then that I wish I had more talent in terms of art. I see paint brushes and pastels and I wish I could use those tool to create something fantastic, but I lack the talent to do so. Frida Kahlo, on the other hand, did not lack talent.
The last room on display before leaving the house and descending stairs into her garden is a bedroom. I assume it belonged to Diego as there is a pair of worn jean overhalls hanging on the wall, along with two straw hats.
More and more people were arriving at the house, and I was kind of happy to leave and walk in the garden where I didn’t have to worry about squeezing my way through a small crowd. I took a few minutes to look at some sculptures and then visited a shop to buy postcards.
As a foreigner, I don’t think I will ever truly appreciate Frida Kahlo and the contributions she made during her lifetime. It’s not because I’m being ignorant, it’s because I’m Canadian, and as much as I love my country I don’t think we’ve had anyone who has inspired a state of reverence and celebration whenever their name is spoken. Mexico on the other hand does, and when they visit the home of Frida Kahlo they are paying homage to a woman who made a difference. A woman who is to be respected, revered, and celebrated.
La Casa Azul (Frida Kahlo Museum)
Del Carmen, Coyoacán,
04100 Mexico City,
Federal District, Mexico
Tues 11am – 5:30pm, Wed to Sun 10am – 5:30pm
Adults 80, Students 30, Children/Seniors 15, Photography 40 (all prices in pesos)