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Frida Kahlo gets the superhero treatment: A photo preview

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Four the last four years running, the Chicano Humanities and Arts Council's gallery on Santa Fe has done an annual show dedicated to Frida Kahlo, queen of the surrealist self-portrait and owner of the most celebrated unibrow of all time. This year, though, the gallery is doing it a little different: For one thing, the CHAC has opened up its submissions guidelines to include more of those towering figures of Mexican art and folklore -- but the kicker? It's all about turning them into superheroes.

Like all of CHAC's Kahlo shows, this one was open to submissions from anybody, and the call went out to the gallery's 2,000-member mailing list last month. "People love Frida," Executive Director Crysal O'Brien acknowledges, "but I wanted more material, and I felt making it broader would give artists a little more to work with."

For that reason, the show covers not just Frida and her by-turns beloved and estranged muralist husband Diego Rivera, but really anything that might fall under the auspices of that which is Mexican: Masked wrestlers and the Virgin of Guadalupe factor prominently. Actually, that last part (not the Mexican wrestler part) has created a little bit of controversy around the show: "Some people didn't feel like we should be putting Frida next to Our Lady of Guadalupe, because Frida was an atheist and she was a communist," O'Brien says. "But we didn't want to limit people. We really wanted it to be about artistic expression." As for the superhero theme, O'Brien came up with that when she was chatting with gallery regular Daniel Luna. "I was saying I wanted it to be about a little bit more than just Frida, and Daniel said, 'what about, like, Frida Kahlo and other superheroes?' And I said, 'That's a great idea. I think I'm going to steal that, Daniel.'" The show gets its First Friday opening reception tomorrow night, and the gallery is offering a number of other events and activities throughout the month. For more information, visit the CHAC website or call 303-571-0440.

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