We’re pleased to announce the donation to the Niki Charitable Art Foundation of arts advocate Lyn Kienholz’s personal archives related to Niki de Saint Phalle. These archives include correspondence, photos, proposals, construction and financial plans, event plans, notes and research, and original letters and drawings by Niki de Saint Phalle, as well as images of maquettes for unrealized projects and an array of other materials.
Lyn Kienholz, a longtime advocate for the arts, is founder and president of the nonprofit California/International Arts Foundation, which partners with U.S. and international museums to organize and tour art exhibitions. She also serves on boards of directors for many national and international arts organizations and public galleries.
We wish to express our deep appreciation for this generous donation.
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA, 22 MARCH 2011 The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art presents Niki de Saint Phalle: Creation of a New Mythology now through October 3, 2011. The exhibition celebrates the artist’s extraordinary appetite for myths and legends as interpreted through dynamic and often provocative sculpture, paintings and prints. The Bechtler offers 55 works inside the museum and five large-scale outdoor sculptures across the street in Wells Fargo’s public park, The Green, in addition to the Firebird sculpture that graces the museum’s plaza.
Niki de Saint Phalle: Creation of a New Mythology is made possible with a generous grant from Wells Fargo Private Bank.
“Wells Fargo Private Bank is pleased to be the presenting sponsor of this compelling exhibition,” commented Madelyn Caple, Wells Fargo Private Bank Regional Director. “Niki de Saint Phalle’s approach to art was both intellectually rigorous and playful all at once. Her work is appealing and intriguing to both adults and children, established and novice museum goers and those with a natural curiosity about modern art. The installation at The Green, a Wells Fargo property, will allow the public to engage with the art seven days a week through fall of this year in a beautiful outdoor space.” Caple adds, “This unique installation is a natural way for us to continue our already significant investment in the development of Uptown Charlotte’s cultural facilities.”
Niki, as she preferred to be called, was one of the most significant and unconventional female artists of the 20th century. She burst upon the art world in the 1960s as a provocative and wildly independent artist whose life and work were equally flamboyant. She became the only female member of the avant-garde Nouveau Réalistes, a contemporary of America’s Pop art movement, and collaborated with leading artists of the day including Yves Klein, Christo and Jean Tinguely, whom she later married.
She is best known for her series of “Nanas,” voluminous female forms often constructed in joyful, dance-like poses, and large-scale installations such as the Stravinsky Fountain near the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Tarot Garden in Tuscany. Niki’s work often reflected her life and revealed her opinions about femininity, mythology, fairytales, violence and personal anxiety. She died in 2002 of pneumonia, her lungs damaged by decades of breathing polyester fiber used in the creation of many of her works.
The works in Niki de Saint Phalle: Creation of a New Mythology range from the whimsical and wondrous to dark and serious. The exhibition relies on a handful of interconnected ideas and opinions to reveal the intellectual depth and reach of Niki’s engagement with the worlds of myth, legend, religion and cultural archetypes. Many works by Niki are set in fantastic surroundings — dreamscapes populated by strange creatures, combinations of animals out of place with each other and their environment, sometimes threatening, other times benevolent and peaceful. Niki passed through various stages in her evolution as an intellectual, an artist and a woman and viewers will see several of these stages throughout the works in this exhibition.
Niki de Saint Phalle: Creation of a New Mythology provides intellectual inquiry mixed with a sense of provocation, joy and delight. The exhibition marks the first time the Bechtler has displayed works from outside its collection. Fifty-nine of the 60 works are on loan from the Niki Charitable Arts Foundation. The whimsical and boldly colored sculptures, prints and tableaux éclatés (kinetic wall sculptures) represent five decades of the artist’s career.
A principal objective of the Bechtler’s exhibition program is to bring greater insight and understanding to the works in the museum’s collection. One of the primary ways to achieve that goal is to put artwork in the larger context of the artist’s career. Therefore, the Bechtler will seek to borrow works from individuals and other institutions, such as the Niki Charitable Arts Foundation, that will provide that context historically, biographically, but most importantly, artistically. This exhibition provides greater meaning to the Bechtler’s Niki de Saint Phalle holdings, the Firebird in particular, by presenting so many other works that demonstrate the same subject matter and interests of the artist.
Niki’s outdoor sculptures are admired by audiences across the globe. Her playful, larger-than-life creations are constructed from fiberglass, colorful stones, glass, mirrors and ceramic tiles. The total weight of the five sculptures included in the Bechtler exhibition is 13,046 pounds. In partnership with Wells Fargo, which owns the 1.5 acre landscaped park atop a four-level parking structure across the street from the Bechtler, the works have been strategically placed throughout the space based upon the weight of each piece.
Visitors are encouraged to touch the outdoor works. The artist especially enjoyed seeing children climbing on her animal sculptures. Cat, on view in the Bechtler’s exhibition, is meant to be explored from the inside out as is La Cabeza, the brightly colored skull that sits along the Tryon Street side of the park.
Also included among the outdoor works are sculptures of Miles Davis and Tiger Woods (Golf Player), two figures from Niki’s Black Heroes series, which portrays famous African-American musicians and athletes.
Currently, audio commentary for only the Miles Davis and La Cabeza sculptures is accessible by mobile phone. Audio for the remaining three sculptures will follow at a later date. The phone numbers will appear on the exhibition label for each artwork.
Jazz at the Bechtler (April 1). This popular music series moves outside and across the street to The Green for a tribute to Miles Davis performed near Niki de Saint Phalle’s sculpture of the musician. 6 to 8 p.m. Admission fee to be determined.
Film (April 15).Monster in the Forest: The Story of the Cyclop is an art-house film about the collaborative efforts of Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle in the creation of the Cyclop, a monumental sculpture located on the outskirts of Paris. Museum video gallery, 6 p.m. Free with museum admission.
One Work lecture (April 18).Vive Moi, a sculpture by Niki de Saint Phalle, will be the focus of a discussion led by museum President and CEO John Boyer. Fourth-floor gallery, 6 p.m. Free for members and $10 for non-members.
Music and Museum Series (April 29 and May 1). Performances of Chamber Music and Jazz: The Fusion Cabaret will feature music composed by Claude Bolling and William Bolcom paired with artwork by Niki de Saint Phalle. Lobby, 5 to 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for museum members, $20 for non-members.
Family Day (May 7). Kids of all ages can experiment with methods and materials addressed in the Niki de Saint Phalle exhibition. Activities will be held on the museum plaza, in the lobby and across the street in The Green, noon to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free for those under 18 years old; all others receive a discounted ticket price of $4.
Open to the public 18 March 3 October 2011
Director of Communications and Marketing
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
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The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in Charlotte, North Carolina, has announced the opening of its new exhibition Niki de Saint Phalle: Creation of a New Mythology, on exhibit now through 3 October 2011. The Bechtler, whose permanent collection includes works by both Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely, is already home to Niki’s Firebird, a huge sculpture on permanent public display in front of the museum.
The announcement begins:
“The exhibition celebrates the artist’s extraordinary appetite for myths and legends as interpreted through dynamic and often provocative sculpture, paintings and prints. The Bechtler offers 55 works inside the museum and five large-scale outdoor sculptures across the street in Wells Fargo’s public park, The Green, in addition to the Firebird sculpture that graces the museum’s plaza.”
For the opening of the new exhibition “Niki de Saint Phalle: Creation of a New Mythology” on 18 March at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, WFAE radio in Charlotte, North Carolina interviewed Laura Duke, Niki’s daughter; Bloum Cardenas, Niki’s granddaughter and a trustee of the Niki Charitable Art Foundation; Dave Stevenson and Marcelo Zitelli, also trustees of the Foundation; and John Boyer, President and CEO of the Bechtler. (Laura Duke and Bloum Cardenas are seen in the photo at right.)
The interview, nearly an hour long, includes a wide-ranging discussion of Niki’s life and work, her relationship with her lifelong partner Jean Tinguely, and the exhibition itself. Click and enjoy.
“The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art unveiled a new exhibit Saturday in uptown Charlotte,” reports WBTV in Charlotte, North Carolina. “Five large-scale mixed-media sculptures by French-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle were placed in the Green, next to the museum.” The enormous sculptures, “large enough that kids can play in them,” include La Cabeza (2000), a six-ton skull in green, yellow, and red with room for a dozen people inside. Another, shown here, is Niki’s Grande Step Totem (2001).
“The display is a prelude to a larger exhibit of the artist’s work, set to go on display Friday, March 18th,” adds the report. “The outdoor works will remain on display until October.”
The Bechtler is home to Niki’s popular Firebird (a.k.a. Le grand oiseau de feu sur l’arche), now on permanent public display in front of the museum.
For the indoor exhibition entitled “Niki de Saint Phalle: Creation of a New Mythology” and running from 18 March through 30 September the Bechtler will be showing about 60 additional works by Niki de Saint Phalle in its fourth-floor gallery, as reported in January by the Charlotte Observer. Watch this space for more news about this exhibition.
Niki de Saint Phalle’s colossal mosaic sculpture, The Star Fountain (Blue), will be on view free and open to the public at the 2011 Times Square Show, a large-scale outdoor group exhibition on Broadway and 42nd Street in New York City, from 17 March 2011.
The sculpture depicts a flamboyant and playful ‘Nana’ juggling two large pitchers from which water constantly cascades. Standing nearly 10 feet tall, the voluptuous female figure is an archetype of feminine power and strength celebrating motherhood, sensuality, love, and life. Installed in the heart of New York’s theater district, its mirrored and stained glass tesserae, reflecting the city’s flickering lights and vibration, provide a rare opportunity to dive into Niki’s realm.
March 8 is the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. To celebrate, Kunsthalle Wien which has extended the exhibition “POWER UP Female Pop Art” through today will feature a special midday program: POWER LUNCH, a guided tour of the show by curator Angela Stief.
Later in the day, Ursula Leitgeb and Hafize Gültekin will offer another guided tour of the exhibition (in German, with translation into Turkish) with the title “Vorsicht, Emanzipation kann Ihre Befindlichkeit nachhaltig verbessern!” (“Warning: Emancipation can produce a lasting improvement in your mood!”).
If you’re in Vienna and would like to register for the POWER LUNCH tour, contact Isabella Drozda at +43-1-521 89-1255 or email@example.com. (Admission is € 5, which includes snacks following the tour.) For more information (also in German) about either event, visit the Kunsthalle Wien web site.
Finally, if you aren’t in Vienna or just can’t make it to the show today, don’t panic. “POWER UP Female Pop Art” will also be appearing at Phoenix Art/Stiftung Falckenberg (in cooperation with Deichtorhallen Hamburg) from 19 April – 10 July, and at the Städtische Galerie Bietigheim-Bissingen from 23 July – 9 October. Learn more about the exhibition.
WNYC in New York City asked New Yorkers what they thought of the outsized sculptures now embellishing Times Square as part of Armory Arts Week. (To hear a few of their responses, click the arrow on the audio player above.)
“On Tuesday morning after the unveiling,” writes WNYC Culture Producer Marlon Bishop, “tourists and native New Yorkers alike wandered among the statues, ranging from a voluptuous ten-foot ceramic woman by the late sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle to the 24 sheep made of paper by Brooklyn artist Kyu Seok Oh.”
Bishop notes that beyond the obvious artistic considerations, the sculptures were chosen “to withstand the wear and tear of a week in Times Square where, according to curator Glen Weiss, people tend to be pretty ‘hands-on’ with the art.”
All five works will be on display until next Tuesday, 8 March. Learn more.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK, 1 MARCH 2011 Niki de Saint Phalle’s colossal mosaic sculpture, The Star Fountain (Blue) (1999), will be on view free and open to the public at the 2011 Times Square Show, a major large-scale outdoor group exhibition on Broadway and 42nd Street, from March 1 through 7, 2011.
Wittily executed in the artist’s signature sparkling colors, The Star Fountain (Blue) depicts a flamboyant and playful ‘Nana’ that juggles two large pitchers from which water constantly cascades. Standing nearly 10 feet tall, and made of polyurethane foam, resin, steel armature, glass pebbles, ceramic tiles, mirror and stained glass, the voluptuous female figure is an archetype of feminine power and strength. Decorated with cosmic symbols and stars in shades of white, red, yellow and blue, the majestic Nana celebrates motherhood, sensuality, love and life themes recurrently explored by Saint Phalle.
The sculpture’s illusory effects of light and color and the use of water create a magnetic attraction and meditative sensory experience. Installed in the heart of New York’s theater district, its mirrored and stained glass tesserae, reflecting the city’s flickering lights and vibration, provide a rare opportunity to dive into Saint Phalle’s realm one of whimsy and fantasy.
Internationally acclaimed for her oversized, voluptuous female figures, Niki de Saint Phalle (1930-2002) was a French-American, self-taught sculptor, painter and film maker of international prominence. She is best known for her public sculptures, such as the Stravinsky Fountain next to the Centre Pompidou in Paris (1983), the Tarot Garden at Garavicchio in southern Tuscany (1998), the Grotto in Hannover’s Royal Herrenhausen Garden (2003), and Queen Califia’s Magical Circle in California (2003). Saint Phalle, who began her career as an artist in the 1950s, was awarded the 12th Praemium Imperial Prize, considered to be the equivalent to the Nobel Prize in the art world, in Japan in 2000. Born in 1930, in Neuilly sur Seine, Saint Phalle died in 2002 at the age of 71 in La Jolla, California.
“One is struck by unexpected juxtapositions in Julie Richey’s three-dimensional works. La Corrente is an elegant sculpture expertly executed in traditionally durable mosaic materials with imagery that comments on the fragile ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico.”
Texas artist Julie Richey has received Best 3-D Mosaic honors from the 2011 Mosaic Arts International, an annual international juried exhibition of contemporary mosaic art. Richey’s figurative dress sculpture in marble, glass smalti and seashells is entitled La Corrente (The Current).
“La Corrente is about beauty amidst destruction,” says Richey. “It was created during the Gulf oil spill and it alludes to the many destructive forces, both man-made and natural, that creep in with the current.” Richey describes her work as “utilizing the innate opulence of mosaic materials – 24k gold smalti, marble, semi-precious stones, iridescent glass and minerals – to embellish sculptural forms in unexpected ways.”
Three jurors from the US and Australia selected Richey’s work from among more than 300 international entries. Juror JeanAnn Dabb, Professor of Art History, University of Mary Washington commented on Richey’s work, “One is struck by unexpected juxtapositions in Julie Richey’s three-dimensional works. La Corrente is an elegant sculpture expertly executed in traditionally durable mosaic materials with imagery that comments on the fragile ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico. Richey’s recent sculptures have clothing or dress forms as shared structures and the environments referenced in their individual subjects range from the rural to the urban; all linked by the actions of humans and the forces of nature.”
Nancie Mills Pipgras, Editor in Chief of the publication Mosaic Art Now, remarks, “In La Corrente, Richey has succeeded in making hard materials — stone, glass, and shell — appear to float and fold with the gentle grace that only wind and water can bestow. We are reminded that all in nature is fragile.”
Richey has worked in the mosaic medium for more than 20 years, creating custom residential and commercial mosaics. She has earned international recognition for several recent projects, including the 2009 Orsoni Prize for Night Shirt, a wall relief mosaic depicting San Francisco Bay at midnight. In October 2011 Richey will be leading a Mosaic Masterpiece Tour to Rome and the Vatican Micromosaic Workshop, Niki de Saint Phalle’s Tarot Garden in Tuscany and the International Mosaic Festival in Ravenna.