Category Archives: art exhibition

How Well Do You Know Frida Kahlo?

The life and work of Frida Kahlo is known throughout artist communities and much of the world. Numerous biographies and critiques have been written about the Mexican painter, and in 2002, Salma Hayek brought the infamous character to life in the movie Frida.

Despite the broad reach of this historic woman, a recent art exhibit is raising a perplexing question: how well do any of us know Frida Kahlo?

Frida Kahlo’s Complete Collection

In San Diego, California, an art exhibit at the Naval Training Center at Liberty Station boasts having all 123 of Kahlo’s paintings on display. The only problem is that none of the paintings are completed by the acclaimed artist.

The title of the exhibit, “The Complete Frida Kahlo: Her Paintings, Her Life, Her Story” is thought to be misleading, as all of the art work are replicas.

The Missing Pieces

Many of those who have visited the displays are unaware that these pieces are merely facsimiles of the real paintings. Disclaimers stating the truth are hard to find and often overlooked.

If this art is not the work of Frida Kahlo, then who should it be accredited to? Four artists from China are responsible for replicating the 123 paintings, but they are not named anywhere throughout the exhibit.

However, the spotlight shines on the couple who arranged this exhibit. Dr. Mariella Remund and Hans-Jürgen Gehrke invested 30 years and their life savings into this project. Five years ago, they decided to present their project to the public. When asked about what drove them to put together this extensive collection, Remund responded, “…we are crazy.” The pair reportedly loves Mexico and admires Mexican culture. They especially enjoy Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

Completely Dishonest or Just Unconventional?

Despite receiving appropriate rights from Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Museums Trust to replicate the paintings, Remund and Gehrke did not properly advertise these paintings as replicas. The show has been referred to as “completely dishonest” by notable art critics.

Remund stands her ground though. She is not worried that some people think the pieces are Frida Kahlo originals. Nevertheless, she has an 8.5” by 11” sheet of paper displayed at the entrance of the exhibit explaining the paintings are replicas.

What is an art exhibit that has a complete collection of replicated art work? Dishonest or unconventional? Is it a unique approach to honoring historic art, or downright (as Remund says) “crazy”?

Read more Segmation blog posts about Historic Artist:

Katsushika Hokusai – Creative Japanese Artist

The Expressive Vincent van Gogh

Jan van Eyck – Renaissance Realist

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Museum Curator Elevates Prestige of Paint by Number Art

The argument about what does and does not qualify as art has created tension in the art world for centuries. Some people think only fine art should be considered “real” art. Others believe that primitive, rustic, rugged pieces crafted by the unschooled are indeed genuine works of art. This is just the type of debate that has surrounded paint by number paintings, which were created from mass-produced paint by number kits, for the past several decades.

While many art elitists do not believe paint by number paintings are true works of art, William L. Bird, Jr., believes they are. Bird should know – he is not only the curator at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, he is also highly educated on the subject of paint by number.

Bird raised the prestige of paint by number art in his book, Paint by Number: The How-To Craze that Swept the Nation. In his book, Bird gives an explanation of how paint by number was born, who marketed it, and why it was such a success. Also, the author explains the level of artistic skill it took to create paint by number kits. Understanding these facets of this technique and brand is helping the public see paint by number paintings for what they truly are – a form of art.

William L. Bird, Jr., further championed paint by number paintings when he displayed them in an art exhibition in 2001 at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.

An individual who visited Bird’s exhibition commented to Bird that several paint by number paintings from “identical kits” had variations painted in them. (These were variations that the artists themselves had “painted outside the lines” to add.) This individual wondered if such artistic inconsistencies helped these particular paintings qualify as art. Bird affirmed, “By expressing preferences and making choices, these painters are taking the first steps toward art. I think you can charitably argue that in these cases it was art.”

Do you love paint by number and Segmation? Whether you like being a perfect painter or great digital artist, or simply have fond childhood memories of coloring inside the lines, your experience is valuable. We want to hear your story in the comment section below. What does paint by number mean to you?

Sources:

http://www.cabinetmagazine.org/issues/15/paintbynumbers.php

http://www.amazon.com/Paint-Number-How-To-Craze-Nation/dp/1568982828

Note: The top photo used in this post does not belong to Segmation; it was found at http://mocoloco.com/art/archives/020982.php.

Coming soon: Read Segmation’s heartwarming article about various individuals’ much-loved childhood memories of paint by number.

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