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EU Students Design a 21st-Century Hon

We're getting close to the 25 February opening of "Niki de Saint Phalle: Outside-In" at SCHUNCK* Heerlen — the first exhibition in the Netherlands since 1976 to be devoted solely to the works of Niki de Saint Phalle, and the first major retrospective there since Niki's death in 2002. On the occasion of this exhibition, SCHUNCK* Heerlen organized a unique event inspired by "Hon – a Cathedral," the legendary work Niki created for the Moderna Museet in Stockholm in 1966.

SCHUNCK* Heerlen challenged high school students from seven European schools to design a sculpture inspired by the Hon, then sent an expert jury — including Bloum Cardenas, Niki's grand-daughter and a trustee of the Niki Charitable Art Foundation — to visit the schools and choose a winner. The winning design, a polar bear named "Tosca" created by students of the Institut Saint-Laurent in Liège, will be executed life-size and displayed from late March through mid-June 2011 at the Pancratiusplein in Heerlen.

Mingei Treasure Hunt in San Diego

The Mingei International Museum, located in Balboa Park in San Diego, California, will host the "Discover Mingei" treasure hunt on 30 January, as the North County Times reports.

Families will receive a treasure map that they can use to find hidden art treasures while exploring the museum's collection. Prizes will be awarded to those who finish the hunt.

Here, three boys participating in a previous "Discover Mingei" scavenger hunt visit a sculpture by Niki de Saint Phalle outside the Mingei International Museum.

The treasure hunt ($5 per family, $3 for singles) will take place from noon to 4 p.m. in Balboa Park, 1439 El Prado, San Diego, California. Visit the Mingei International Museum web site.

'Seductive Subversion' Wins AICA Award

The group exhibition "Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists 1958-1968" has been chosen as Best Thematic Show Nationally for 2010 by the U.S. section of the International Art Critics Association (AICA).

The critically acclaimed show, which includes works by Niki de Saint Phalle and 21 other artists, was conceived and organized by Sid Sachs, director of exhibitions at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

"Seductive Subversion" examines the impact of women artists on the traditionally male-dominated field of Pop art — reconsidering the narrow definition of the Pop art movement, reevaluating its critical reception, and expanding the canon to reflect more accurately the women working internationally during this period.

'Seductive Subversion' at Tufts

The Tufts University Art Gallery has announced that the major exhibition Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists, 1958-1968 will be on exhibit in its Tisch Family and Koppelman Galleries and Remis Sculpture Court from 27 January to 3 April 2011.

"Seductive Subversion," which includes works by Niki de Saint Phalle and 21 other artists, "examines the impact of women artists on the traditionally male-dominated field of Pop art," according to a Tufts press release. "It reconsiders the narrow definition of the Pop art movement and reevaluates its critical reception. In recovering important female artists, the show expands the canon to reflect more accurately the women working internationally during this period."

The critically acclaimed show, which includes works by Niki de Saint Phalle and 21 other artists, was conceived and organized by Sid Sachs, director of exhibitions at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. The exhibition features 70 artworks by 22 artists. Learn more.
 

Big Show Coming to the Bechtler in Spring

You heard it here first! Unless, of course, you happen to have seen the Charlotte Observer story on "Niki de Saint Phalle: Creation of a New Mythology," the upcoming exhibition at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art.

The Bechtler is already home to a fine collection of works by Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely, including 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.

"Soon," notes writer Richard Maschal, "it will have company. From March through October, five large sculptures by the French-born artist will fill The Green, the park across from the Bechtler. Most prominent among them: La Cabeza, a representation of a skull in green, yellow and red that weighs six tons and is large enough for people to crawl inside."

For the show ("the largest outdoor sculpture exhibit the city has seen," says Maschal), the Bechtler also will show about 60 additional works in its fourth-floor gallery. Watch this space (and read Maschal's story) for more about this exciting exhibition.

Feminist (R)evolution in Brooklyn

In her Huffington Post article Feminist (R)evolution in Brooklyn: Reclaiming Women for Pop, art critic, curator and New Media artist Lisa Paul Streitfeld praises the Brooklyn Museum's exhibition Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists 1958-1968:

"The irresistible seduction of these 'proto-feminist' pioneers on view in Brooklyn through January 9 (though the exhibit will be going on tour) not only succeeds in making the underpinnings of a historical movement come alive again, but inspires a new erotically charged Pop movement liberated from the feminist straightjacket and devoted to the mythology of an authentic liberation of gender equality, within and without."

Streitfield also calls attention to catalog co-editor Kalliopi Minioudaki's "standout essay" "Pop Proto-Feminisms: Beyond the Paradox of the Woman Pop Artist," which, in her view, "brings to light what may prove to be the most pertinent feminist scholarship of this century."

'Niki de Saint Phalle: Play With Me' at the Kunsthalle Würth

"Niki de Saint Phalle: Play With Me," a large-scale exhibition presenting a broad survey of Niki's work, will be coming to the Kunsthalle Würth in Schwäbisch Hall in April.

With more than 100 works on exhibit, the show — curated by Guido Magnaguagno, former director of the Tinguely Museum in Basel, in cooperation with Bloum Cardenas, granddaughter of the artist — will include sculptures from the Würth Collection alongside works on loan from the Niki Charitable Art Foundation, the Sprengel Museum in Hanover, and the Musée d'Art Moderne in Nice. The show will also include works by Jean Tinguely, Niki's long-term partner, and paintings by her first teacher, Hugh Weiss. A special feature will be the inclusion of Niki's films in the exhibition.

The exhibit will open 17 April and continue through 16 October 2011. Learn more.
 

Love, Obsession and Faith: A Visit to the Tarot Garden

To mark the new year, we bring you a love letter to Niki de Saint Phalle from Hannah Marshall, writing in The Riviera Times.

Marshall, whose move to France was inspired by Niki and her work, describes "my pilgrimage to her holy land" — a trip to the Tarot Garden, the masterpiece in Tuscany on which Niki worked for decades:

Watching Natasha run from the Sun to the Star, clambering over dragons in the woods and squeezing into cubbyholes, I remember a favourite de Saint Phalle quote: "In this world of so much pain, if a sculpture of mine can give a moment of joy, a moment of life to a passerby, I feel rewarded."

"Come quick, you have to see this," Natasha shouts at me, "now this really is magical." She pulls me into the sugar-plum interior of the Emperor, her eyes wide. And still, I'm not sure who is happier, the real child holding my hand or the eternal one trapped inside of me.

Women Pop Artists at the Brooklyn Museum

Niki de Saint Phalle's Black Rosy, or My Heart Belongs to Rosy (1965) is among more than fifty works by groundbreaking women artists in "Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists, 1958–1968," now on exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum.

Art critic Ken Johnson gives the exhibition a thumbs-up review in The New York Times, while Stephen Brown of The Brooklyn Paper says the show gives Pop patriarch Andy Warhol "a swift kick in the groin through an eclectic mix of works that are both provocative and humorous."

"This large-scale exhibition examines the impact of women artists on the traditionally male-dominated field of Pop art," says the Brooklyn Museum web site. "It reconsiders the narrow definition of the Pop art movement and reevaluates its critical reception. In recovering important female artists, the show expands the canon to reflect more accurately the women working internationally during this period."

The exhibition, which opened on 15 October and continues through 9 January 2011, also features works by Chryssa, Rosalyn Drexler, Marisol, Yayoi Kusama, Jann Haworth, Vija Celmins, Lee Lozano, Marjorie Strider, Idelle Weber, and Joyce Wieland, among many others.

'The Bonnie and Clyde of Art' on ARTE

If you have access to ARTE, the Franco-German cultural TV channel, don't miss "Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely: the Bonnie and Clyde of Art," a 55-minute film by Anne Julien and Louise Faure. This "joyful hommage to the pair of sculptors and their magical creations" will be broadcast Monday 23 August at 11:25 pm (23:25) European time. It will be rebroadcast 6 September at 11:20 am.

Here is ARTE's description of the film:

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