By Barbara Levine with Stephen Jaycox
Finding Frida Kahlo by Barbara Levine with Stephen Jaycox was featured in The New York Times, Art News, on BBC and National Public Radio. It was given a five star review in Publishers Weekly who wrote: “Independent curator Levine (Around the World) encountered a mysterious, important and long-hidden collection of more than 1,200 of what are reputed to be Frida Kahlo’s personal items in the back room of an antiques store in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.”
Levine and Jaycox meticulously document the unpacking of the archive from five trunks, suitcases and boxes, and guide readers through the contents with reproductions of letters and diaries, and photos of Kahlo’s drawings and personal effects. Levine finds it all illuminating, not only regarding Kahlo but also “the universally human tendencies that the archive represents.”
Levine’s interview with the antiques store owners recounts their fascinating acquisition of the pieces while the “visual exploration” focuses on Kahlo’s impassioned love and hatred for her husband, Diego Rivera, whom she calls an “evil fat toad,” and her anxiety over her amputated leg, which manifests itself in her obsession with flight (“What do I want feet for/ If I have wings to fly”). This beautiful book poetically offers a fresh look at one of art’s iconic women, and though Kahlo is the protagonist of the project, Levine’s journey includes us all."