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Photo: Kyle Flubacker

Taking Your Kids to Immersive Frida Kahlo? Here’s What To Know Ahead of Time

You won't want to miss this larger-than-life exhibit.

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The latest multifaceted art experience from Lighthouse Immersive and Maestro Immersive Art—creators of the popular Immersive Van Gogh exhibit—highlights the vibrant and sometimes haunting surrealism of Mexican folk artist Frida Kahlo. We spoke with Immersive Frida Kahlo’s associate producer Vicente Fusco about what themes to expect in the show, how they relate to Kahlo’s own story, and where to see them in the larger-than-life exhibit.

Theme: Pain and Resilience

Born in 1907 to parents unhappy in their marriage, Kahlo herself described her childhood as “very, very sad.” At age six, she contracted polio, which made her right leg shorter and thinner than her left. A horrific bus accident 12 years later left her with a spinal injury and a life of chronic pain. Yet, she also married muralist Diego Rivera (one of the most important artists of her day), met numerous influential people (the Rockfellers and painters Georgia O’Keeffe and Pablo Picasso, among them), and had a rich social life. She painted her pain, Fusco notes, “but to assume she was constantly sad and depressed—this was not the case. She made friends with some of the most exciting people in the world. To me that’s important to say.”

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Look For It in the Show:

Kahlo’s pain and joy are apparent in her art. Keep an eye out for her many self-portraits, some of which portray her crying or bleeding (“The Wounded Deer,” for example), while others like “Me and My Parrots” showcase bright colors and more playful undertones.

Theme: World Travel

Kahlo’s talent as an artist was widely recognized during her lifetime. Though she lived in Mexico for much of her life, she had work commissioned by the president of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City; she graced the cover of Vogue Paris; and in 1939, when the Louvre purchased her painting “The Frame,” she became the first 20th-century Mexican artist to be featured in their hallowed collection. “A lot of people frame her as a Mexican artist, a Latin American artist, which of course she was,” Fusco says, “but at the end of the day, we’re talking about a pop icon that transcended time and boundaries.”

Look For It in the Show:

Music is a key component of Immersive Frida Kahlo with songs carefully selected to match the visuals on display. Works from French, British, and Italian musicians allude to Kahlo’s contribution as an international artistic phenomenon.

Theme: Pushing Boundaries

Kahlo is well-known as a person who marched to the beat of her own drum. It’s obvious in her paintings (her self-portraits often feature a unibrow and sometimes a mustache), which went against the gender norms of the day. Her political affiliations with the communist party were controversial. And late in her life, she defied her doctor’s orders for bedrest to attend the opening of her first solo exhibition in Mexico, arriving in a four-poster bed and staying the whole night. 

Look For It in the Show:

In a typical art museum experience the atmosphere is quiet, light shines all around, and static paintings hang on walls. Immersive Frida is different. In the exhibit music resonates throughout the room; the lights are dimmed; and thanks to a digital remastering process, Kahlo’s artwork is a dancing, evolving conglomeration that covers the walls. “You feel that you’re being shrunk to microscopic size, and you’re being thrown into a painting, but the painting is moving around you and there’s background music,” Fusco says. “If that’s not different, I don’t know what ‘different’ is.”

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If you go: Immersive Frida Kahlo runs through May 30, 2022 at Lighthouse Denver, 3900 Elati St., Denver. Tickets start at $39.99 for adults, $24.99 for children 16 or younger.

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