Missouri Botanical Garden Presents ‘Niki’ in 2008


Colorful, playful mosaic sculptures by Niki de Saint Phalle

ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, 7 JANUARY 2008 — The passionate, imaginative fine art of Niki de Saint Phalle is coming to the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis in 2008! From April 27 through October 31, Niki will present 40 mosaic and painted sculptures gathered from around the world, placed throughout the lovely 79-acre botanical garden.

A prolific self-taught artist, Niki created a repertoire of work that also included paintings and illustrations. She sculpted her playful, larger-than-life creations from fiberglass, stones, glass, mirrors and semi-precious materials. Visitors are encouraged to touch many of them and some invite sitting or climbing.

Her work is well-known throughout Europe, South America and Asia. She designed and built two permanent sculpture gardens: The Tarot Garden in Tuscany (1980-1998) and Queen Califia’s Magical Circle (1999-2003) in Escondido near San Diego. She also has major public pieces in Paris (Stravinsky Fountain); in Hannover and Duisburg, Germany; and the Golem in Jerusalem, as well as a collaboration with Mario Botta on Noah’s Ark, also in Jerusalem.

Several of the Niki works include nanas, animals, heroes, and totems, ranging from four to eighteen feet tall. Some weigh a ton or more, such as the amazing six-ton La Cabeza (The Head).

Nanas is a French term for “chicks” or “babes.” These joyful, robust dancing women are among Niki’s best known works. Nanas have appeared in museums, outdoor sculptural exhibitions and as part of major permanent collections around the world.

Niki loved to see children climbing on her animal sculptures. Her Guardian Lions, Cat, Seals and Nikigator invite exploration from the inside out.

Black Heroes portray iconic images of African-Americans in music and sports, including Louis Armstrong and East St. Louis native Miles Davis. Totems were inspired by the artist’s reverence for animals, nature, and Native American culture and traditions.

Niki will be included with $8 general admission to St. Louis’s historic botanical garden (St. Louis City and County residents, $4 adults, $2 seniors). Members and children age 12 and under are free.

“Niki Nights” on Thursdays from May through September will feature casual outdoor dining and family entertainment from 5 to 9 pm. “Niki Nights” admission will be $7 adults, $3 children and $5 Garden members. The Doris I. Schnuck Children’s Garden: A Missouri Adventure will remain open until dusk on “Niki Nights” at no extra charge.

The Garden will offer audio commentary of the exhibition by cell phone or mp3 player, available for download at www.mobot.org. The Garden Gate Shop will carry Niki merchandise and mosaics for the home and garden.

The Missouri Botanical Garden is located at 4344 Shaw Boulevard in St. Louis, just south of Interstate 44, two blocks east of the Vandeventer-Kingshighway exit. Park for free at the Garden and two blocks west at the Shaw-Vandeventer intersection. Please note that a section of I-64/U.S. 40 is under construction through 2009. Before traveling, check www.thenewi64.org for updates. Go to www.GetAroundStL.com for other helpful information. Rail commuters can take MetroLink to the Central West End station and catch a Metro bus to the Garden (www.metrostlouis.org).

For general Garden information, log on to www.mobot.org or call the 24-hour Garden Line recording at (314) 577-9400 or 1-800-642-8842. Read about Niki de Saint Phalle and her art on the web at nikidesaintphalle.com and nikidesaintphalle.org.