Finding Frida Kahlo by Barbara Levine and Stephen Jaycox is not necessarily what one might expect. Neither a biography nor document about Kahlo's work, this book is an itemized account of the contents of Kahlo's alleged personal archives, found in an antiques store in Mexico's San Miguel de Allende. Inside an old suitcase, two wooden chests and a box, and a metal trunk are letters, diary pages, stuffed hummingbirds, small pieces of artwork, and a variety of other ephemeral fragments of Frida Kahlo's life. Translations of the notes serve as annotations to the photographs of the contents, whose authenticity is still in dispute. But in some ways this book is more about the very notion of personal archives and collections than the famous Mexican artist. How are we reflected in what we leave behind?
Hardcover, 256 pages. Princeton Architectural Press, 2009. $31.50 at Amazon.