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This article tells the story of the first exhibition of women’s art held under the name, Frida Kahlo Salon, at the gallery directed by Lola Álvarez Bravo. The show brought together the works of 40 artists as dissimilar as Remedios Varo, Machila Armida, Celia Calderón, Lucinda Urrusti, Olga Costa, Alice Rahon, Andrea Gómez, Leonora Carrington and Fanny Rabel, among others. Since it was a tribute to Frida Kahlo herself, the selection included four works that had not been shown in her individual exhibition held three years earlier, at the same gallery. The group show, which was intended to be an annual event, was organized by the Unión Democrática de Mujeres Mexicanas [Democratic Union of Mexican Women]. The artist who won the competition would donate her work for exhibition in Frida’s house in Coyoacán, in order to keep her memory alive and support women’s art production.


Two years after the death of Frida Kahlo (1908-54), her persona served as an element to cohere the efforts and work of other women artists, who sought to open the way into a medium still dominated by masculine personalities. Women had finally obtained the right to vote just a few years earlier, and they were getting organized in a number of associations that would enable their work to go beyond the cultural sphere into political and social spheres as well.

An important point made by the critic Raquel Tibol (1923-2008) is that, while the collection of artwork presented by the Salon was heterogeneous, it was always united by a certain "gender consciousness." This would grow stronger over time, with the figure of Kahlo as a catalytic force. Also significant was the inclusion in the exhibition of the works of Remedios Varo (1908-63) and Leonora Carrington (1917-2011), two emigrants from Europe who were beginning to break into the Mexican cultural milieu. Other participants in this group show would also develop into renowned artists in the years to come.

Mireida Velázquez : CURARE A. C.
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Biblioteca Rubén Bonifaz Nuño del Instituto de Investigaciones Filológicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México