Beauty Is Convulsive by Carole Maso
The Passion of Frida Kahlo

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Synopsis

Beauty is Convulsive is a biographical meditation on one of the twentieth century's most compelling and famous artists, Frida Kahlo (1907-1954).

At the age of nineteen, Kahlo's life was transformed when the bus in which she was riding was hit by a trolley car. Pierced by a steel handrail and broken in many places, she entered a long period of convalescence during which she began to paint self-portraits. In 1928, at twenty-one, she joined the Communist Party and came to know Diego Rivera. The forty-one-year-old Rivera, Mexico's most famous painter, was impressed by the force of Kahlo's personality and by the authenticity of her art, and the two soon married. Though they were devoted to each other, intermittent affairs on both sides, Frida's grief over her inability to bear a child, and her frequent illnesses made the marriage tumultuous. This prose poem is typical Maso--vigorous, daring, always original. She brings together parts of Kahlo's biography, her letters, medical documents, and her diaries with language that is often as erotic and colorful as Kahlo's paintings.

"Maso's precise and poetic prose ... brims with emotion, imagination, intelligence, and beauty." —Review of Contemporary Fiction

"... a supple, discerning, and haunting prose poem, a biographical meditation that elegantly charts Kahlo’s epic resiliency, artistic daring, unrelenting suffering, soul-saving 'sense of the ridiculous,' and glorious defiance. Maso’s spare yet lyric tribute, a genuine communion, is a welcome antidote to the mawkishness and sensationalism that is starting to blur our appreciation for Kahlo’s pioneering art and incandescent spirit." —Booklist
 

About Carole Maso

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Carole Maso teaches at Brown University.
 
Published September 1, 2011 by Hol Art Books. 184 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Arts & Photography, Literature & Fiction, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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Fortunately, despite the grim goings-on, Maso, like her subject, is not without a sense of humor (she slyly notes the commercialization and fetishizing of all things Frida and tosses quotes from Kahlo's detractors, as well as her own critics, into the mix), which helps her to capture the "absurdi...

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