Begining June 1, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, will open its exhibit, which will feature over 100 pieces of work ranging from painting to sculpture to photography from the Gelman Collection. The Gelmans were a famous and high-flying art-colllecting couple in the 20th century who fell in love with Mexico and made it not only their home, but the centerpiece of their fantastic collection. In the 2000s, however, after the death of Natasha Gelman, who bequeathed the collection to her friend, curator Robert Littman, a litigation frenzy ensued over who had the rights to the works (and at one point the paintings were put into hiding).
The Nelson-Atkins, according to one of its curators, Stephanie Knappe, felt the Gelman collection "offered an opportunity to honor the rich artistc traditions of Mexico's past and celebrate the vitality of Mexican art today." The museum also hopes that the way in which they lay out the paintings creates an intimate atmosphere, reflecting the fact that it is a private collection the Gelmans would have lived with in their homes. And on a fun and different note, to try and engage multigenerational audiences, the museum included interpretations next to the artwork from local third and fifth graders as well as seniors from University Academy in Missouri.
Pictured above is Frida Kahlo's Self-Portrait with Necklace. For Kahlo, her self-portraits became an outlet for her lifelong suffering (contracting polio at a young age, a bus accident leaving her with a broken spine and pelvis, as well as a punctured uterus, and later the amputation of a leg). Kahlo became a feminist icon for her unflinching depiction of the female form, her struggles with miscarriage, and her fiery marriage-of-equals with Diego Rivera.