Rose Art Museum Presents Frida Kahlo: POSE

Exhibition on view from June 25, 2021-December 19, 2021


(Waltham, Mass. July 2021) – The Rose Art Museum presents Frida Kahlo: POSE, an exhibition of select paintings, works on paper, ephemera, rare film footage, and photographs spanning Frida Kahlo’s entire life. Organized in five overlapping sections—Posing; Composing; Exposing; Queering; and Self-Fashioning––the show highlights the profound and creative interplay between photography, fashion, art, and the construction of identities within Kahlo’s multidimensional oeuvre.

“Posing for photographs, not painting, was Frida Kahlo’s first form of self-expression. Her doting father, Wilhelm (Guillermo) Kahlo, was her first photographer. As soon as she could sit up, he cultivated her propensity to perform in front of the camera,” explained Gannit Ankori and Circe Henestrosa, the show’s curators.

Kahlo’s mesmerizing, photogenic allure continued to impress a host of exceptional photographers. Featuring portraits by Peter Juley, Imogene Cunningham, Lola Álvarez Bravo, Nickolas Muray, Gisèle Freund, and others, the exhibition explores Kahlo’s mode of posing for photographs, which strongly impacted her painting. Her intense, unflinching gaze and the slight turn of her head appear in photographs and self-portraits alike. Furthermore, the meticulous care with which she fashioned her sartorial ‘look’ parallels the fastidious way she composed her paintings during the prime of her life. Over eighty photographs are on view in the exhibition, displayed in dialogue with Kahlo’s paintings, drawings, and prints.

Special sections within the exhibition are devoted to Kahlo’s identity as an artist, documenting how she composed her paintings. The show also includes a virtual reconstruction of her first solo exhibition at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York in November of 1938. Activating words and images articulated by Kahlo, the show highlights her deliberate acts of queering and self-fashioning. Kahlo said: “I have broken many social norms.” And “I have the mustache and in general the face of the opposite sex.” These features are displayed in her photographs, paintings, and diary drawings.

Today, sixty-seven years after the artist’s death, her pathbreaking poetics of identity inspire artists, musicians, students, people with disabilities, people of color, LGBTQ+ communities, and ever-expanding audiences. Artworks from the Rose Art Museum’s permanent collection are on view in close proximity to and in dialogue with Frida Kahlo: POSE, reflecting the influence of this visionary and transgressive artist, who was way ahead of her time.

Co-curated by Dr. Gannit Ankori, Henry and Lois Foster Director and Chief Curator of the Rose Art Museum, and long-time collaborator Circe Henestrosa, Mexican Fashion Scholar and Curator, Frida Kahlo: POSE is the duo’s fifth project together focused on the iconic Mexcian artist. Other collaborative curatorial projects include the upcoming ¡Viva La Frida!: Life and Art of Frida Kahlo, opening October 9, 2021, at the Drents Museum in the Netherlands, Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (2018); and Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving, at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York (2019) and the De Young Museum in San Francisco (2021).

Frida Kahlo: POSE will be on view through December 19, 2021. Admission is free, and timed tickets are available at

This exhibition is generously supported by Claudia Davidoff and Lizbeth Krupp, and by our partners at Brandeis University: Women's Studies Research Center; Gender and Sexuality Center; Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; the Film, Television and Interactive Media Program; and The Edie and Lew Wasserman Fund.

Isometric Studios, Brooklyn, New York, designed the exhibition.


The Rose Art Museum has been dedicated to exhibiting and collecting modern and contemporary art at Brandeis University since 1961. With its highly respected international collection of more than 9,000 objects, scholarly exhibitions, and multidisciplinary academic and public programs, the Rose affirms and advances the values of freedom of expression, global diversity, and social justice that are the hallmarks of Brandeis University. The Rose Art Museum recently added works by Betye Saar, Joe Overstreet, Adam Pendleton, Jenny Holzer, Renee Cox, Yoko Ono, Wang Quingsong, and Jamal Cyrus to its permanent collection. Located 20 minutes from downtown Boston, the Rose Art Museum is open to the public, and admission is always free.

For more information visit, or call 508.612.5128. Follow the Rose Art Museum on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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