Kahlo

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'Her Dress Hangs Here': De-Frocking the Kahlo Cult Author(s): Oriana Baddeley Reviewed work(s): Source: Oxford Art Journal, Vol. 14, No. 1 (1991), pp. 10-17 Published by: Oxford University Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1360274 . Accessed: 04/01/2013 16:44 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp

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the 'Her Dress Hangs Here': De-frocking Kahlo Cult

ORIANA BADDELEY

in a The 1990shavewitnessed shift theartestablishart towards producedoutsideofits ment'sattitudes traditionalparameters.The work of previously artistshas become an area of rich marginalised speculationamong art dealers priced out of the 'modern masters'market.Almosteveryyear has terrain of witnessedthe discovery new artistic art, art, graffiti Sovietart,Australian theartofLatin America.The major auction houses have moved withthe timesand have foundnew waysofselling would have and content whichin bothform works a provedan unstableinvestment decade ago. The statusof the workof the Mexican painter current Frida Kahlo is a dramaticexampleof thischange. as Once knownprimarily thewifeofDiego Rivera, supercedes outsideofMexiconowfar herreputation have of his:since1979,sale roomestimates herwork and in 1990a $40,000to over$1 million, risenfrom New at workby Kahlo brokeall records Sotheby's artist. a Yorkfor LatinAmerican

The enormousrisein the economicvalue ofher workhas developedin tandemwiththe increased blend to and critical popularresponse herparticular content. While the first of naive styleand incisive wave of popular interestarose with the 1982 by instigated Laura Mulvey exhibition Whitechapel of and PeterWollen,'itwas thepublication Hayden whichhas led of Herrera's biography Kahlo in 19832 cult status.Since thatdate she has to her current film a of beenthesubject TV documentaries,feature ('Frida' by Paul Leduc), a stage play, numerous for clothand the inspiration designer publications ing. In May 1989 Ell magazine ran a 16 page on feature Frida Kahlo as the 'spiritof Mexico' (Feb. 1990) therewas a 10 (Fig. 1), while in Vogue of of page interpretation'theromance FridaKahlo's as Mexico' (Fig. 2). Almost a logicaloutcomeofthis of in media blitz,it emerged the summer 1990that Madonna, alreadya devoteeof Kahlo's work,was based on Kahlo's life. a commissioning screenplay

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