Fridamania spawns an upcoming TV series dramatizing Kahlo’s life and work

Fridamania.“It’s a real thing. It lives and grows. In addition to the multiple films, documentaries and short films on the life and work of the artist, not to mention the award-winning prize in 2002 “Frida” biopic also about his life and work, we’re now going to have a TV series about – you guessed it – his life and work.

In the announcement of Variety, Frida’s great-niece, Mara Romeo Kahlo, is quoted saying that the TV series will portray the artist “as she has never been seen before”.

Will the real Frida Kahlo stand up?

Are you saying there’s more to the story than the biopic tells or the Book it was adapted from – by Hayden Herrera 1983 book Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo”?

Certainly, his fans would want to know.

Since his death in 1954, by Frida popularity exploded. His face appears on shirts and socks and the like, even nail polish. Madonna calls him a personal hero.

So goes Fridamania. His Mexican costumes make it popular with the fashion crowd. Her bisexual connections put her right in line with the gender-nonspecific crowd, and her fierce independence makes her a feminist darling. And maybe the handicapped among us favor it too. What is left to know?

Kahlo’s popularity showed its adoring face at the Dallas Museum of Art in 2017 when 1,100 women dressed up as the artist to celebrate his 110th birthday.

And get this. Even a Harvard teacher includes Kahlo in an assignment for her students.

Maria Luisa Parra-Velascowho specializes in Hispanic linguistics, assigned classes to identify Kahlo’s presence in their communities – whether it’s nail polish, lip gloss, a Kahlo-themed restaurant or a bar soap.

Then she asks them to share their findings on a web portal with other countries like South Africa and Brazil – seemingly in a “we are the world” spirit.

One could say that the professor not only participated in Fridamaniabut it also perpetuates it.

Of course, this is not the first mania in the world. In the 1960s, fanaticism aimed Beatles, the English rock band. Such fandom isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Considering all the mass shootings in the United States, Fridamania seems harmless for a mania.

My concern is what a television series about the presumably unknown life and work of this artist will do for her, her art and her art. I’m thinking cringe-worthy biopic “The Desire to Live” in 1956 with Kirk Douglas as Van Gogh which made him crazy.

Douglas attacking his webs with the same ferocity he used to fight the Germans in the movie “Paths of Glory” turned it into a caricature.

Stretch the truth?

Does the project TV series in regards to Kahlo also distort? Her great-niece’s goal, “to present a unique perspective based on how the artist ‘really lived her life,’ raises questions.

How much did a great-niece know about the artist’s personal life? And is she dissing Herrera biography on which biopic was based? If so, that’s a lot of dissing.


Maria D. Ervin