Interview with Niki de Saint Phalle Biographer, Catherine Francblin

From the introduction to Sophie Flouquet’s interview with Catherine Francblin, author of a new French-language biography of Niki de Saint Phalle, in Beaux Arts Magazine for October 2013:

“Personnalité unique en son genre dans le paysage artistique des années 1960 à 1980, la fantasque Niki de Saint Phalle n’avait curieusement jamais fait l’objet d’une biographie en France. Lacune comblée avec la Révolte à l’oeuvre.

“Tout le monde connaît ses Nanas aux rondeurs monumentales et l’exubérante fontaine Stravinsky installée aux abords du Centre Pompidou. Mais peu de gens savent qui fut vraiment Niki de Saint Phalle (1930-2002), jeune et belle aristocrate franco-américaine qui devint la seule femme engagée aux côtés des Nouveaux Réalistes et l’indéfectible compagne du sculpteur suisse Jean Tinguely. Une biographie signée de la critique d’art Catherine Francblin vient enfin dresser le portrait complet de cette artiste qu’une première grande rétrospective honorera à l’automne 2014 au Grand Palais.”

The full interview can be found in Beaux Arts Magazine for October 2013. Catherine Francblin’s biography of Niki de Saint Phalle, la Révolte à l’oeuvre, is forthcoming from éditions Hazan.

‘Niki de Saint Phalle en joue!’ at Galerie Vallois

A new exhibition of work by Niki de Saint Phalle will be opening in Paris in November at Galerie Vallois, in the sixth arrondissement of Paris.

The show, entitled “Niki de Saint Phalle en joue! Assemblages & Tirs 1958–1964,” will include an assortment of Niki’s assemblages and shooting paintings (tirs) from the groundbreaking period at the end of the 1950s and the beginning of the 1960s.

The exhibition, which will open on 8 November and run through 21 December 2013, will take place at Galerie Vallois, 36 rue de Seine, 75006 Paris, France.

For more information, contact Georges-Philippe and Nathalie Vallois via email at or visit the Galerie Vallois web site.

Bechtler Modernism + Film Program Launches August 16

On August 16, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in Charlotte, North Carolina, will be screening the film Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely: The Bonnie and Clyde of Art. This 2010 documentary details the tumultuous 30-year relationship between the two sculptors, whose work is now on view in the Bechtler exhibition Artistic Relationships: Partners, Mentors, Lovers.

A presentation by Bechtler President and CEO John Boyer will precede the film screening. An event reception, including a cash bar and free light bites, begins at 6pm in the Bechtler lobby, followed by the presentation and film screening at 7pm.

The Bechtler Museum’s Modernism + Film program investigates themes in design, engineering, architecture, and modern/contemporary art through the lens of film. Developed in partnership with AIA Charlotte and the UNC Charlotte College of Arts + Architecture, the Modernism + Film program is offered the third Friday of each month. Each month’s event includes a presentation to engage audience members about themes highlighted in the film. The full Modernism + Film season can be viewed on the program’s main web page.

Tickets are $10 for non-members, $8 for members, and $5 for students with valid school ID. Tickets may be purchased online, by phone at 704.353.9200, or at the Bechtler Museum visitor services desk. Student tickets must be purchased at the visitor services desk.

Niki de Saint Phalle Conference in Milly-la-Forêt

Art historian and curator Sarah Wilson, a professor at the Courtauld Institute of Art, will be leading a conference entitled “Niki de Saint Phalle” in June in the town of Milly-la-Forêt, near Paris.

The conference, held in cooperation with the Association Le Cyclop, will take place on Thursday 6 June starting at 7:30pm at the Espace culture Paul Bédu. The venue is located at 8, rue Farnault in Milly-la-Forêt, a small town outside Paris where the mammoth sculpture Le Cyclop, a collaboration between Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely, can also be found. All are invited, and admission is free. Learn more.

Arteum Introduces its Niki de Saint Phalle Collection

Arteum, with three stores in Paris as well as an online boutique, has introduced its Niki de Saint Phalle collection, created in partnership with the Niki Charitable Art Foundation. The collection includes tableware, stationery, and other items decorated with designs and images from Niki’s work. Other artists and designers with collections chez Arteum include such luminaries as Le Corbusier, René Magritte, Keith Haring, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. You can see items from the Niki de Saint Phalle collection here [.pdf] or visit the Arteum web site.

“Exquisite Corpse” in the Heart of Paris

Exquisite Corpse, a sequel to the exhibition presented under the same name at the Galerie Georges-Philippe and Nathalie Vallois in 2003, presents a body of work inspired by the famous game invented in Paris in 1925, in a house on the rue du Château where Marcel Duhamel, Jacques Prévert, Yves Tanguy, and many others, famous and unknown, would regularly meet. For them, the game was a way to explore the operation of thought beyond the control of reason, and it became a canonical device in the Surrealist toolbox.

This exhibition offers fifteen surreal ‘exquisite corpses’ by such artists as André Breton, Paul Eluard, René Magritte, Man Ray, and Yves Tanguy alongside a selection of other works by contemporary artists embodying the same free and transgressive spirit. Among these works is Le Château de Gilles de Rais (The Castle of Gilles de Rais), a shooting painting created by Niki de Saint Phalle in 1962.

The exhibition, which opened on 22 March and runs through 11 May 2013, is on display at the Galerie Georges-Philippe and Nathalie Vallois, 36, rue de Seine, 75006 Paris. For more information, call the gallery at +33 (0)1 46 34 61 07.

Exhibition view, “Exquisite Corpse”
Galerie GP & N Vallois, Paris
22.03.2013 — 11.05.2013
© Aurélien Mole
Courtesy Galerie GP & N Vallois, Paris

Paris Launch for “Les Bonnie & Clyde de l’Art” DVD

The documentary film by Louise Faure and Anne Julien, “Niki de Saint Phalle & Jean Tinguely: Les Bonnie & Clyde de l’Art,” is coming out on DVD — and to celebrate, there will be a launch event in Paris on Thursday 13 December at Galerie Hubert Karaly (23 rue Lucien Sampaix, 75010 Paris). The evening begins at 7:30pm. “Les Bonnie & Clyde de l’Art” won the Prix du Meilleur Film TV FIFA 2011.

The Eric and Jean Cass Gift on Display at GoMA

Art collectors Eric and Jean Cass “have been supporters of Niki de Saint Phalle ever since they bought their first work from a gallery in Ostend in 1976,” says the Gallery of Modern Art Glasgow (GoMA), and the esteemed collectors’ recent donation of more than 300 important modern and contemporary artworks to the Contemporary Art Society “for allocation to public institutions and to support contemporary art in the UK” included many of Niki’s works. In 2012, the Contemporary Art Society put that gift’s intention into action by inviting seven UK-based museums to research the donation and pitch for “clusters of works that complement or enliven their current collections.”

In that context, the Gallery of Modern Art Glasgow received 14 major works by Niki de Saint Phalle, as well as a number of collectable ephemera, drawings and personal letters. Now those works are slated for exhibition at GoMA, beginning on 16 November 2012.

“We are incredibly excited to have been given these unique and wonderful works by Niki de Saint Phalle,” says Ben Harman, Curator of Contemporary Art for Glasgow Museums. “This act of extraordinary generosity by Eric and Jean Cass will create the largest assembly of the artist’s work at any public collection in the UK.” The “unprecedented gift” will be enjoyed “by generations of local, national, and international visitors to Glasgow,” added Harman. Learn more about the exhibition.

A Bigger Splash: Painting After Performance

Opening this week at the Tate Modern in London is “A Bigger Splash: Painting after Performance”, an innovative group exhibition curated by Catherine Wood. Here’s how the Tate Modern web site describes the show:

“This exhibition will take a new look at the dynamic relationship between performance and painting since 1950. Contrasting key paintings by Jackson Pollock and David Hockney, the exhibition considers two different approaches to the idea of the canvas as an arena in which to act: one gestural, the other one theatrical. The paintings of the Vienna Actionists or the Shooting Pictures of Niki de Saint Phalle will be re-presented within the performance context that they were made, and juxtaposed with works by artists such as Cindy Sherman or Jack Smith that used the face and body as a surface, often using make-up in work dealing with gender role-play. The exhibition proposes a new way of looking at the work of a number of younger artists whose approach to painting is energised by these diverse historical sources, drawing upon action painting, drag and the idea of the stage set.”

“A Bigger Splash: Painting after Performance” runs from 14 November 2012 through 1 April 2013. For more information, you can visit the Tate Modern web site or contact the museum directly.

Cass family gives 300+ works to seven UK museums

From The Art Newspaper:

“The collectors Eric and Jean Cass have donated more than 300 works of modern and contemporary art, valued at £4m, to the Contemporary Art Society to be allocated to seven UK institutions outside London.

“The Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, the Hepworth Wakefield, Leeds Art Gallery, the National Museum Cardiff, Edinburgh’s Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, the Wolverhampton Art Gallery and the Royal Pavilion and Museums, Brighton, will each receive clusters of works tailored to complement their own collections. […] Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art will receive a sizeable number of works by Niki de Saint Phalle, which will go on display from 15 November until October 2013.” Learn more.