Niki sculptures take root at the Garden

Photo by Kristen Hare“Niki in the Garden” opens this Sunday at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis. Journalist Kristen Hare visited a preview of the exhibition, along with Kim Treff and her three-year-old daughter Greta:

Since 2001, the garden has brought in outside art, including Chapungu, stone sculptures from Zimbabwe, and most notably the glass creations of Dale Chihuly. But nothing has invited participation the way Niki has.

On Sunday, Kim Treff of St. Louis watched as her daughter, Greta, 3, climbed around one of two giant, mosaiced lions.

Treff loved the colors, the size and how her daughter could explore it, she said, but it’s not something you expect to see here.

Because of that, Lynn Kerkemeyer, special exhibitions manager for the garden, wasn’t sure what people would think of Niki’s pieces, all sculptures made of fiberglass and mosaic or painted polyester. They explode, she said, with color, light and brightness.

For all their beauty, Kerkemeyer thought, “they are very different from our formal garden.”

Already, though, “we’re just seeing people of all ages absolutely loving it,” said Karen Hagenow, public relations coordinator with the garden.

“It’s very accessible,” she said. “Which is what’s exciting about it.”

Photo by Kristen Hare