‘Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life’ — A Sneak Peek at What to Expect


When we found out last June that an exhibition on Frida Kahlo was coming to The New York Botanical Garden, May 16th, 2015 couldn’t get here fast enough.  Now, we’re just a little over 2 months away from opening weekend and thanks to NYBG, we’re happy to share more about this event.

After reading the calendar of events, Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life is massive with its programming surrounding the actual exhibition which includes over a dozen of her works, many of which are from private collections, live music and dancing giving us a colorful range of the performing arts, family events and so much more!  We’ve put it all together here so that you can plan in advance for these events (especially for those who are traveling into NYC just to experience the exhibition and The Bronx!)

The timing of the exhibition could not have been better.  The Bronx is now home to one of the largest Mexican populations in the New York City region — so large that we are the home to the first and only institute of Mexican Studies on the East Coast and this side of the Mississippi.

‘Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life’ is going to be a 6 month-long celebration not only of one of the most celebrated artists in the world but also of culture of her Mexican homeland, the people, and everything that has taken roots here in our borough and are city.


The following is reprinted with NYBG’s permission:

Photo: Frida with Olmeca figurine, Coyoacán, 1939. © Nickolas Muray Photo Archive / Via NYBG
Photo: Frida with Olmeca figurine, Coyoacán, 1939. © Nickolas Muray Photo Archive / Via NYBG (Click to enlarge)

“This blockbuster exhibition will be the first to examine Frida Kahlo’s keen appreciation for the beauty and variety of the natural world, as evidenced by her home and garden as well as the complex use of plant imagery in her artwork. Featuring a rare display of more than a dozen original Kahlo paintings and works on paper, this limited six-month engagement will also reimagine the iconic artist’s famed garden and studio at the Casa Azul, her lifelong home in Mexico City.

Accompanying events invite visitors to learn about Kahlo’s life and enduring cultural influence through poetry, lectures, Frida al Fresco evenings, Mexican-inspired shopping and dining experiences, and hands-on art activities for kids.”

Casa Azul in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory

Photo: Casa Azul, Mexico City, 2014 / Via NYBG
Photo: Casa Azul, Mexico City, 2014 / Via NYBG (Click to enlarge)

The Haupt Conservatory will come alive with the colors of Kahlo’s Mexico, greeting visitors with an evocation of the artist’s garden at the Casa Azul (Blue House), her lifelong home.  Passing through blue courtyard walls, visitors will stroll along lava rock paths lined with flowers and showcasing a variety of important garden plants from Mexico.  A scale version of the artist’s pyramid — created to display pre-Hispanic art collected by her husband, muralist Diego Rivera — will feature traditional terra-cotta pots containing desert plants found in her garden, as well as the organ pipe cactus fence located at Rivera’s studio in nearby San Ángel.  Experience the Casa Azul as the ultimate expression of Kahlo’s connection to Mexico and the natural world.

Kahlo’s Woks in the Art Gallery

Photo: Casa Azul, Mexico City, 2014 / Via NYBG
Photo: Casa Azul, Mexico City, 2014 / Via NYBG (Click to enlarge)

The LuEsther T. Mertz Library’s Art Gallery exhibition, curated by Adriana Zavala, PhD, will feature 14 of Kahlo’s paintings and works on paper — many borrowed from private collections — highlighting the artist’s use of botanical imagery in her work.  Focusing on her lesser-known yet equally spectacular still lifes, as well as works that engage nature in unusually symbolic ways, this grouping will include Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird (1940); Flower of Life (1944); Still Life with Parrot and Flag (1951); and Self-Portrait Inside a Sunflower (1954).

Exhibitions in the Mertz Library are made possible by the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust.

Additional support has been provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and by a Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Sponsored by Carolina Herrera New York.

About the Guest Designer

Scott Pask is an award-winning scenic designer who received a Bachelor of Architecture degree and Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Arizona, and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Yale School of Drama.  He designed NYBG’s Monet’s Garden in 2012 and The Orchid Show: On Broadway in 2011.  He has won Tony awards for his work on The Book of Mormon, The Pillowman, and The Coast of Utopia.  His recent Broadway productions include Finding Neverland, Something Rotten, The Visit, It’s Only a Play, I’ll Eat You Last with Bette Midler, and the hit revivals Pippin, Promises Promises, HAIR, and Nine.  He designed Amaluna for Cirque du Soleil, which is currently touring the world.

About the Guest Curator

Adriana Zavala, PhD, is Associate Professor of modern and contemporary Latin American art history and Director of Latino Studies at Tufts University. Zavala has curated several exhibitions and published widely on Mexican art.  Her Book, Becoming Modern, Becoming Tradition: Women, Gender, and Representation in Mexican Art (Penn State University Press, 2010), was awarded the Arvey Prize by the Association for Latin American Art in 2011.

Frida’s and Diego’s Mexico City in the Ross Gallery

This fascinating panel exhibition will present museums and other sites in Mexico City where Kahlo’s and Rivera’s artwork and personal collections can be viewed, conveying the scope of their artistic and intellectual contributions to the cultural life of Mexico

Exhibitions in the Ross Gallery are made possible by the Arthur and Janet Ross Fund.

Sponsored by México: Live It To Believe It


Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: Mexican Art in the 20th Century
Friday, May 15; 10:30AM – 12:30PM
Moderated by guest curator Adriana Zavala, this symposium explores Mexican art history, design, and the evolution of Kahlo’s garden at the Casa Azul.


Adriana Zavala, Associate Professor of modern and contemporary Latin American art history, Tufts University

Mary Coffey, Associate Professor of North American and Latin American Art, Dartmouth College

James Oles, Senior Lecturer in Art and Adjunct Curator of Latin American Art at the Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley College

Juan Rafael Coronel Rivera, author, curator, and grandson of Diego Rivera

Non-Member $25/Member $19

Register at nybg.org/adulted

Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, 1940. Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin. © 2014 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, 1940. Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin. © 2014 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Opening Weekend Celebration

Saturday and Sunday May 16-17

Revel in the Mexican history and culture that inspired Frida Kahlo and her art during  weekend-long celebration of Kahlo’s creative spirit.  Live performances by musical artists in residence, The Villalobos Brothers and Humberto Flores, as well as Calpulli Mexican Dance Company set the stage for two days of non-stop performance art, film, and fun for fans of any age, including the opportunity to decorate and take home masks.


Live Music & Dance
Saturdays and Sundays, plus Monday Holidays

The Best of classic and contemporary Mexican music joins with the historic traditions of ballet folklórico for live performances held on weekends throughout the summer and fall.  Enjoy the sights and sounds of Mexico Beyond Mariachi and Calpulli Mexican Dance Company during sets in the Leon Levy Visitor Center, Haupt Conservatory vicinity, and Ross Hall.

Mexico Past & Present Film Series
Saturdays and Sundays, plus Monday Holidays

The experience of FRIDA KAHLO: Art, Garden, Life continues each weekend with a film series that includes the Academy Award-winning Frida, which immerses you in the life and times of Frida Kahlo every Saturday, and a revolving series of documentaries and shorts on Sundays, presented in partnership with Cinema Tropical.

Mobile Experience
Experience the singular beauty of the artistic haven Kahlo and Rivera created at the Casa Azul as you enjoy its evocation in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.  Dazzling archival photographs, contemporary views, audio narration by the guest curator, and videos bring this unique space to life.  Then try your own hand at self-portraiture!  Take a selfie and style it with flowers, fruits, and foliage line one of Kahlo’s paintings — and share it with your friends!

Mobile Media supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies

¡Viva la Frida!
Saturday and Sunday, July 11-12

Bring your fashion savvy for a weekend celebration of the life, style, and spirit of Frida Kahlo.  Enjoy live mariachi performances by the women of Flor de Toloache, partake in a Frida Look-Alike Contest, and craft your own flower crown as you join in the fun with Frida impersonators.

Poetry for Every Season
Co-presented with the Poetry Society of America

Mexican Poetry Walk
Adjacent to the Haupt Conservatory, the works of influential 20th-century Mexican poet Octavio Paz, many referencing native plants and flowers, will be displayed amid the seasonal beauty of the Garden’s own collections.

Family Adventures
Frida’s Flora and Fauna
Weekdays; 1:30pm – 5:30PM Weekends plus Monday Holidays; 10AM – 5:30PM
May 16-September 27

Visit the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden to experience the inspiration Frida Kahlo found in the natural world that can be seen and appreciated in her artwork.  Throughout the Adventure Garden investigate plants and animals growing and living in New York City, using your senses as well as scientific tools to discover your own creative muse.

Sponsored by Univision Contigo

Cooking with Frida
Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays 2 & 4PM

Hands-on activities in the Edible Academy’s Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden bring together children and their families to experience the colors, textures, smells, and tastes of Frida Kahlo’s Mexican kitchen.  Cooking demonstrations feature recipes inspired by those Frida served to family and friends, using nutritious, garden-based ingredients.  Visitors can explore and tend to plant staples of Mexican cuisine growing throughout the Family Garden: beans, tomatoes, peppers, chiles, herbs, and more!

Frida al Fresco Evenings
Select Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, 6:30PM – 9:30PM

Enjoy these festive nights out at the Garden by experiencing FRIDA KAHLO:  Art, Garden, Life after hours.  Stroll through Kahlo’s beloved Casa Azul reimagined in the Conservatory, see rare works in the Art Gallery, and then transport yourself to Mexico without leaving New York via live music performances, Kahlo-inspired items from Shop in the Garden, an outdoor Tequila Bar, and delicious Mexican fare inspired by Kahlo’s own recipes, all enjoyed with a complimentary cerveza.

Generous support for the Summer Concert Series is provided by Vivian and Edward Merrin.

Non-Member $35/Member $25 (Adults 21 and over)
Advance tickets recommended; includes one complimentary beer
Start the night off with a champagne pre-party at Shop in The Garden on select nights from 5:30PM – 6:30PM.  Learn more at nybg.org/priceless

Spotlight on Agave:  A Tequila Story
The rich history and long-standing traditions of Mexican tequila will be told through a living presentation of the plant at the heart of it all — the agave — for an informative look into the botany and craftsmanship of one of the world’s favorite spirits.

Sponsored by Jose Cuervo Reserva De La Familia

Canciones de mi Padre (Songs of My Father) Concert
Peformed by the Villalobos Brothers and Humberto Flores with special guests
June 20, 6:30PM – 9:30PM

Bring a picnic blanket and set up under the stars for a relaxed evening of food, music, and continued celebration of Mexican heritage at the heart of our summer exhibition, FRIDA KAHLO:  Art, Garden, Life.  Dad won’t want to miss this throwback to the heyday of Linda Rondstadt with a performance of her landmark album of traditional Mexican folk songs — one of the top-selling non-English albums in American history—by the Villalobos Brothers and Humberto Flores, featuring a special appearance by Gizel Xanath, other guest artists, and a full mariachi band.  Pick up dinner for the family from Stephen STARR Events or visit their Mexican BBQ food truck while you’re here, and enjoy a complimentary cerveza included with your ticket to this Father’s Day weekend concert.

Special Event ticket required; Non-Members $40/Member $30.

Shopping & Dining
Visit Shop in the Garden and delight in a fiesta of vibrant Mexican colors, with authentic Talavera pottery, tin retablos, Kahlo-inspired shirts, totes, sketchbooks, and more! Visit The Pine Tree Café for Mexican flatbreads, crisp and spicy salads, sweet aguas frescas, and other specialty snacks inspired by the artist’s own recipes.

Evening Lectures

Frida Kahlo: Art & Life
Wednesday, May 20, 6:30PM – 7:30PM
Celebrated scholar and author Hayden Herrera interweaves Frida Kahlo’s work and life, highlighting her childhood, the accident that turned her to painting, her tempestuous marriage to muralist Diego Rivera, and her passionate love for her native Mexico.

Non-Member $25/Member $19

Frida Kahlo Today: Her Influence on Contemporary Art
Wednesday, June 3; 6:30PM – 7:30PM
Art historian and NYU Professor Edward J. Sullivan examines notable artists across the Americas, revealing Kahlo’s impact on their highly personal explorations of art, national heritage, and identity.

Non-Member $25/Member $19

Register at nybg.org/adulted


Living Décor:  Cactus & Succulent Terrarium
Thursday, June 4; 6PM – 8PM

Non-Member $65/Member $59

Dauntless Dahlias
Tuesday, June 9: 10AM – 1PM

Non-Member $59/Member $49

Botanical Paper Cutting
Saturday, June 20; 10AM – 12PM, Midtown or 2-4PM, NYBG

Non-Member $65/Member $59

Browse more classes and register at nybg.org/adulted


Fret not folks, there’s much more to come as this is only the Spring/Summer Calendar of events surrounding Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life at The New York Botanical Gardens.  Stay tuned with us as we bring you the details for their Fall programming!

Some of highlights for the fall include:  Mexican Independence Day Celebration from September 19-20, Mexican Poetry Reading by Rachel Eliza Griffiths on September 19th, and Day of the Dead Weekend from October 31 – November 1.

Frida Kahlo:  Art, Garden, Life is made possible by the following sponsors:



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Ed García Conde

Ed García Conde is a life-long Bronxite who spends his time documenting the people, places, and things that make the borough a special place in the hopes of dispelling the negative stereotypes associated with The Bronx. His writings are often cited by mainstream media and is often consulted for his expertise on the borough's rich history.