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Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Detroit

Sunday, March 15, 2015 – Sunday, July 12, 2015

Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo were an explosive couple. He carried a pistol. She carried a flask. He romanticized Detroit. She rejected it. But what they shared was a belief in communism, a thirst for tequila and a passion for each other. Discover how they left their mark on Detroit. And how Detroit left its mark on their art. Exclusively on view at the Detroit Institute of Arts, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Detroit brings together nearly 70 works of art that depict the evolution of these two extraordinary artists’ careers, including eight of Rivera’s epic preparatory drawings for the Detroit Industry murals and 23 pieces by Kahlo, whose work has never before been shown at the DIA. Photography is not permitted in the special exhibition galleries. 

Rivera and Kahlo’s Detroit artwork matters!

See why the community thinks so or share your own response.

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For a complete listing of programs related to Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Detroit, please visit www.ixiti.com/diegoandfrida


Tickets for this special exhibition are timed and limited. Advance purchase is strongly recommended, especially on weekends when most tickets sell out well in advance. If you purchase tickets online, avoid waiting in line by printing your tickets from home and bringing them with you.

  • Adults: Tues. - Fri., $14 / Sat. - Sun., $19
  • Youth (Ages 6-17): Tues. - Sun., $9
  • Groups (15+): Tues. - Fri., $12 / Sat. - Sun., $16 (per person)

Purchase Tickets Online

Or at the DIA Box Office, or by phone at 313.833.4005.

DIA Members receive free exhibition tickets, shop and café discounts, and more. Advanced reservations are also recommended for members. Call 313.833.7971 for membership information.

The Detroit Institute of Arts is located in midtown Detroit near Woodward & Warren at:

5200 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48202

Extended Museum Hours

Museum hours will be extended throughout the run of the exhibition.

  • Tuesday & Wednesday: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Thursday & Friday: 9 a.m. - 10 p.m.
  • Saturday & Sunday: 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.


Museum Parking Lot: secured self-parking, enter off John R Street, just south of Kirby, daily, $7
Valet parking: Due to construction of the M-1 Rail, the DIA is no longer available to provide valet parking. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Street parking is available around the museum.
Important Construction Information: Ensure smooth travels – construction of the M-1 rail line may affect travel to the DIA. For up-to-date information, please visit here.

WSU Self-Parking Locations:

Rackham: enter off Warren (north side) just east of Woodward, daily, 7 a.m. - 10 p.m., $7
Welcome Center: enter off Putnam St. (south side) just west of Woodward, Monday–Friday, 7 a.m. - midnight, $2 - $10; Saturday, 7 a.m. - 11 p.m., $7.50

The exhibition will explore the tumultuous and highly productive year that Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo spent in Detroit, a pivotal turning point in each artist's career. Between April 1932 and March 1933, Rivera created one of his most accomplished mural cycles—Detroit Industry—on the four walls of a centrally located courtyard at the DIA. At the same time and largely unnoticed, Kahlo developed her now-celebrated artistic identity. By including works before, during and after their time in Detroit, the exhibition also looks at the evolution of each artist’s career, a subject that has never been fully studied in an exhibition or catalogue. This is a ticketed exhibition.

Rivera’s epic preparatory drawings for Detroit Industry will be the centerpiece of the exhibition. Not shown in almost 30 years, these magnificent works demonstrate Rivera’s sweeping narrative ambition, envisioned as a synthesis between Mexico’s spiritual values and United States industrial might. Most of the works Kahlo created in Detroit will be shown for the first time in this city and will reveal the emergence of Kahlo’s shockingly personal, self-revelatory art style.

Along with approximately 70 works of art, the exhibition will examine the economic conditions of the era, the industrial life of Detroit and its workers and the controversy that surrounded the Detroit Industry murals. Photographs of Rivera and Kahlo at work and at play will also be on view.

DIA Programs

The Detroit Institute of Arts has assembled a wide variety of programs within the museum to support and enhance the Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Detroit experience.

To view a full calendar of related programs produced by the DIA visit http://www.dia.org/calendar/rivera-kahlo-detroit.aspx

Community Programs

The lives of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo touch a wide range of themes, including the automotive industry, women’s health, politics, immigration, feminism, and the labor movement. In recognition of this extraordinary exhibition in Detroit, dozens of cultural institutions and community organizations throughout southeast Michigan have developed public programs that explore these themes and others, allowing residents of the area to fully immerse themselves in the world of Rivera and Kahlo.

To view related community programs throughout southeast Michigan, visit http://ixiti.com/diegoandfrida

Located on the second level, next to the entrance of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Detroit, shop for special Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo gifts, along with artisanal goods from Mexico.

A catalog of the exhibition from the DIA and Yale University press is also available. Curator Mark Rosenthal and a team of scholars have written essays that examine the artists, the city of Detroit in this period, and the commissioning of the murals by Edsel Ford, the patron, and William Valentiner, then director of the Detroit Institute. Rivera’s cartoons for the murals, which have not been exhibited in decades, are highlighted here along with new archival research conducted by Rivera’s grandson, Juan Rafael Coronel Rivera. Featuring more than 100 color illustrations of works by both artists, this book presents Detroit as a profoundly important place for the artistic development of Rivera and Kahlo. Available online at http://diashop.org/books-media/dia-publications/diego-rivera-and-frida-kahlo-in-detroit

Shop online at http://diashop.org/diego-rivera-and-frida-kahlo-in-detroit

A catalog will accompany the exhibition.

The exhibition has been organized by the Detroit Institute of Arts. Generous support for the exhibition has been provided by Bank of America. Additional support has been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Henry and Mary Ellen Bellaimey Family Foundation.

Image: Frieda and Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, 1931, oil on canvas, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Albert M. Bender Collection, Gift of Albert M. Bender. © Banco de Mexico Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; photo: Ben Blackwell


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