Big news! So big, in fact, it may be the most significant news to hit the DuPage County art community – ever. It was revealed that the Cleve Carney Art Gallery in the McAninch Arts Center (MAC) at College of DuPage will host a historic exhibition of the works by one of the most iconic artists of the last century, Frida Kahlo.

Coming straight from Milan in the summer of 2020, the Museo Dolores Olmedo Collection comprises 26 masterpieces that reflect the soul of a visionary whose independence and strength became synonymous with her name.

Kahlo, known for her deeply personal self-portraits, used a vividly colorful folk art style to illustrate her near-fatal bus accident, her miscarriage, her infertility, and her torrid relationship with the prominent mural artist, Diego Rivera. Recognized by the unibrow that became her trademark, she was a pioneer who explored identity, race, class, gender, and politics in a way that still resonates today.

In an age where images are easily accessible through internet searches, why is an exhibit of this caliber relevant? Justin Witte, curator/director of Cleve Carney Art Gallery, explains “… a painting isn’t just a picture. The surface of a painting is covered with hundreds of thousands of marks made by the artists themselves. Every decision, every mistake, every correction is held within the surface of the painting…and that painting becomes the point of contact that spans decades, sometimes centuries. It overcomes geographic barriers, linguistic barriers, and you make direct contact with that artist that made that work.”

Exhibit attendees will be treated to a full Frida immersion. Plans are underway to expand the gallery to accommodate the body of work included in the show.

The MAC’s lobby will be transformed into a historical museum that will showcase a photographic montage of images depicting Frida’s life story. In fact, the entire college will celebrate this exhibit. All departments including theater, fashion, culinary arts, political science, and medical studies are preparing educational programming that will promote diversity and cultural understanding. Organizers are keeping other surprises under wraps so that those who come to meet Frida will not only experience her passion, they will capture her spirit as well.

Cleve Carney Gallery
McAninch Art Center
425 Fawell Boulevard
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137