How artists explore identity | Modern Art & Ideas

Modern art helps us understand not only the artist, but also, ourselves. This video is called Art & Identity, a theme will explore
using three works. Since their marriage in 1929, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo had been
Mexico’s most well-known couple. While Diego was a painter who was famous for his large
murals, Frida was a painter who was famous for being his wife. But in 1938, Frida’s paintings
were starting to get attention. So she takes her first solo trip abroad. She has her first
solo shows in Paris and London. Her style was unique.Was it Mexican Folk Art? was it
Surrealism? When asked, Frida simply said: I paint my own reality. Picasso gives her
earrings. The Louvre buys a painting. Both shows are a success. She returns home, divorces
Diego Rivera and paints “Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair.” Her art had always been in
response to her life. I would imagine that it would be a process that was sometimes very
hard for her. She used her artistic process as sort of an outlet. She marries her love
Diego Rivera and she paints this. She divorces her love Diego Rivera and she paints this.
She was determined not to simply be the ex Mrs. Rivera. Diego had loved her long hair
and her colorful dresses. Frida painted herself without either. She’s seated in this chair
with a pair of shears in one hand and a piece of her long hair in the other. She seemed
to reveal a lot about herself as an artist. She was willing to kind of go to those places
that not everybody is willing to go. In 1940, this is how Frida saw herself. In 1993, Glenn
Ligon asked ten friends how they saw him. Ligon instructed his friends: Imagine that
I’ve gone missing and how would you describe me as a missing person. Get straight to the
point. What are the essential details. Here’s what they said. A black man. 5′ 8″ Very short
haircut. Nearly completely shaved. Stocky build. 155-165 lbs. If you read it, the information
is about me, but also, it’s not about me. He takes those descriptions and prints them
beneath 19th century images of slaves. He called it “Runaways.” The series was made
up of ten prints. Now part of the point in doing this is to try to get at the ways that
slavery and the language around it continues to be important to us today. They read and
looked very similar to the real thing. We always imagine that slavery is something in
the past and that we as a society have gotten over it. It’s sort of gone. But we still feel
its effects. A reminder that his identity was still shaped by that past. Marilyn Monroe’s
identity, however, was shaped by the public. In 1953, this is how America saw her. One
of many publicity photos for the film, Niagara. She was about to become one of the most famous
people alive. A decade later she dies of a drug overdose. Within a few months, Andy Warhol
takes that publicity photo and creates this painting. The tabloid culture as we know it
took off in the 1950s. The American public was no longer satisfied by this. They wanted
this. After Monroe’s death, everyone is trying to tell her story. Paint the definitive portrait.
Who was she really? “Who wants to truth? That’s what show business is for. To prove that,
it’s not what you are that counts, it’s what they think you are.” Warhol takes the publicity
photo and creates this. A silkscreen of a photo. A reproduction of a reproduction. Against
gold. “I don’t know where the artificial stops and the real starts.” It was Warhol’s definitive
portrait of Marilyn Monroe, the tabloids and the public. How America saw Marilyn Monroe
in 1962, how Glenn Ligon’s friends saw him in 1993 and how Frida Kahlo saw herself in


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