Shortly after marrying, the couple lived for three years in the U.S., where Rivera was commissioned to paint murals in San Francisco, Detroit and New York. He reveled in his celebrity status but Kahlo was homesick and less impressed by the industrialism and technological progress in the U.S. One piece from that time, which is the only collage she’s known to have made, conveys her feelings, focusing on social decay, pollution and long unemployment lines.
In a gallery titled ‘‘The Vulnerable Body,’’ the High groups some of Kahlo’s powerful images of damaged female bodies, including ‘‘Henry Ford Hospital,’’ which features her own naked form on a bloody bed following a miscarriage that happened while they lived in Detroit. The next room features Kahlo’s still-life paintings, which aren’t as well-known as her self-portraits, though they make up a big part of her total body of work.
Near the very end of the exhibition is a wall with seven of Kahlo’s famous and moving self-portraits. In ‘‘The Broken Column,’’ her torso is split open, showing the spine broken by her accident, her body held together by straps and the skin all over her body pricked with nails as tears flow from her eyes.
The final gallery features photographs of Kahlo and Rivera: the two of them at home, Kahlo working in her studio and the pair of them attending a political rally. It gives the visitor a final glimpse through photographs into the shared lives of the two artists whose lives were inextricably and tumultuously linked.
If You Go...
FRIDA & DIEGO: PASSION, POLITICS, AND PAINTING: Through May 12 at the High Museum of Art, 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta; http://www.high.org, 404-733-5000. Open Tuesday to Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and on Thursdays until 8 p.m.; Sundays, noon-5 p.m. Adults, $19.50; students with ID and seniors 65 and over, $16.50; children 6-17, $12; children 5 and under, free.