Do you think it would be cool to have a pet monkey? Frida Kahlo had several spider monkeys that she kept as pets—the one in the painting is called Fulang-Chang. The pink ribbon that Kahlo painted around her neck connects her to Fulang-Chang, showing how much she loved him. What other details do you notice?
Gallery label from 2019, for kids
Fulang-Chang and I depicts Kahlo with one of her pet monkeys, interpreted by many as surrogates for the children she and Diego Rivera were unable to conceive. The painting was included in the first major exhibition of her work, held at Julien Levy Gallery in New York in 1938. In the essay that accompanied the show, the Surrealist leader André Breton described Kahlo's work as "a ribbon around a bomb" and hailed her as a self-created Surrealist painter. Although she appreciated his enthusiasm for her work, Kahlo did not agree with his assessment: "They thought I was a Surrealist but I wasn’t. I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality." Kahlo later gave this painting to her close friend Mary Sklar, attaching a mirror to it so that, if Sklar chose, the two friends could be together.
Gallery label from 2009
When curators Leah Dickerman, Luis Pérez-Oramas, and I began to discuss our plans for creating a new gallery dedicated to Mexican Modernist art made in the 1930s and 1940s—which opened in May of this year—Frida Kahlo's Fulang-Chang and I was one of the works we were determined to include. View full post
Publication excerpt from Veronica Roberts, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Painting of Sculpture , A Close Look: Frida Kahlo's Fulang-Chang and I , Inside/Out: A MoMA/P.S.1 Blog . December 3, 2009 .