Frida Kahlo, the celebrated Mexican painter, icon and visionary with ideologies about gender and sexuality that were ahead of her time, was born and died in La Casa Azul – the Blue House – located in the Coyoacán area of Mexico City. So-called because of its bright blue exterior, the Blue House was a place of great love, passion and creativity for Frida and her husband Diego Rivera. When Frida passed away, Diego instructed that their personal belongings be locked away until 15 years after his own death and upon reaching that time, a wealth of items were found and shared with the public. Today, the house is a museum that pays tribute to Frida’s life, allowing us to take a glimpse into what her life – as a painter living with crippling physical disabilities after a nearly catastrophic Tram accident when she was 18 – was like and to see a selection of her paintings in her home.
As a Frida fan, a visit to the Museo Frida Kahlo was an absolute must when I was in Mexico City and I had an excellent experience. This museum is incredibly popular so if you intend to go, I would recommend buying your ticket online. If you just turn up at the museum and wait in line to get a ticket, you can be waiting up to two hours to gain entry as visitor numbers are restricted. If you buy your ticket online, you can choose a time slot to enter which suits you. My ticket cost 230 pesos as I visited on a week day (tickets cost 250 pesos on the weekend) and I didn’t have to print the ticket, I just had to show it on my phone. Even if you buy your ticket online, you will still have to line up to gain entry but you are guaranteed entry within half an hour of your booked entry time. If you want to take photographs whilst in the museum, you will need to pay 30 pesos at the ticket office and you will be given a sticker to wear that confirms your permission to photograph. Photography without flash is permitted everywhere on the site. Bags and backpacks have to be left at the cloakroom but this is free.
Inside the museum site, you will find a tranquil garden, a temporary exhibition of Frida’s clothing, permanent exhibition of a selection of Frida’s work, personal photographs, a Day of the Dead ofrenda, and gain access to Frida’s day and night bedrooms (the day room displays Frida’s death mask, the night room contains Frida’s ashes in an urn), Diego’s bedroom, their kitchen and studio. Restricted visitor numbers mean that despite the museum’s overwhelming popularity, the museum does not feel overcrowded during your visit and allows visitors to have a peaceful experience. Only Frida’s bedrooms felt crowded during my visit but that’s mainly because they are quite small and people want to see where she died and where her ashes are displayed.
The museum is well-organised, staff were polite and the exhibits all have explanations in Spanish and English. You can hire an audio guide to enhance your experience but I didn’t feel this was necessary as everything is clearly labelled and explained. Die-hard fans of Frida would no doubt appreciate the extra information though.
*Note: Something for Frida fans – the Brooklyn Museum has just announced a major exhibition “exploring the life and work of the Mexican artist”. Titled ‘Appearances Can Be Deceiving’, the exhibition will open on 8th February 2019 and run until 12th May. Featuring Frida’s paintings, drawings, photographs, clothing etc, this is the first time personal items from La Casa Azul will be on display in the US.
Selection of pictures from my visit in November 2018: