Artworks
Fulang-Chang and I
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jtucker's picture

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I’ve often heard that people resemble their pets. Frida Kahlo and Fulang-Chang seem to be no exception.

Whether an unconscious attempt to validate her looks or an egotistical gravitation towards a similar creature, there’s no doubt that Kahlo and her furry companion are one and the same. A perfect gift from her philandering husband and renowned Mexican muralist, Diego Rivera, Fulang-Chang and Frida seem to be kindred spirits. The monkey most definitely accentuates Kahlo’s hairiness. The resemblance between the furry primate’s coat and Kahlo’s voluptuous unibrow, mustache, and frizzy locks is striking. And in early Christian and Mayan art, monkeys were associated with promiscuity…another something special Kahlo and her beloved pet have in common!

Rivera and Kahlo’s marriage was turbulent, probably because they both humped like monkeys...and not always with each other. Rivera was willing to stick his you-know-what into anything that moved. Alternatively, Kahlo used her sensual womanly wiles to seduce many patrons in an attempt to get back at Rivera for his adulterous ways. While the monkey highlights this couple’s sexual proclivities, it is also believed that Fulang-Chang represents the unborn children that the couple could not conceive. Not to judge, but considering the explosive nature of their relationship, it's probably better that they did not reproduce.

When this painting was first exhibited in 1938 at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York, it stood alone. But after the exhibition, Kahlo gave this painting, along with a mirror, to her beloved friend Mary Skylar. By hanging the mirror next to the self-portrait, Kahlo claimed that every time Mrs. Skylar looked at the painting, she would see herself with Frida, and therefore they would always be together. Best Friends Forever! Today the painting lives in the Museum of Modern Art, and it and the mirror still sit side by side. So next time you’re there, snap a selfie with this precious primate and the famous Frida herself!