January 26th - Exhibition Opening "From King Kong to Queen Califia: Niki de Saint Phalle & the West Coast"
Niki de Saint Phalle, Californian Diary (Order and Chaos), 1994.
2011 Niki Charitable Art Foundation, all rights reserved.
Since her death in 2002, French-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle has gained
a flourishing legacy, confirming her as one of the most important female artists of the 20th century. As part of Pacific Standard Time: Art in LA 1945-1980, the upcoming exhibition will focus on the paintings, drawings and sculptures that Saint Phalle made in Southern California. Also on display, will be several of her 1990’s "Diaries," which explore California’s mythology, from King Kong to Queen Califia. The works of contemporary artists inspired by Niki de Saint Phalle will be on exhibit as well.
From the discovery of Simon Rodia’s Watts Towers during her first trip to Los Angeles in the early sixties to her "Black Heroes" series realized in San Diego in the 1990’s, Saint Phalle always found a unique source of inspiration on the west coast. The artist’s sculpture garden, Queen Califia’s Magic Circle at Kit Carson Park, is located in Escondido, CA. In 1961, Saint Phalle became well known for her "shooting paintings," which she performed in the Malibu Hills. After being invited by notorious gallerist Virginia Dwan and in front of a crowd which included artists such as Ed Ruscha, Larry Bell and Jane Fonda, Saint Phalle took a riffle 22 (held by Ed Kienholz who assisted her) loaded with bladders of paint and shot at works specially created for the event. Once shot, the bladders of paint transformed spontaneously into wild dispersions of colors and textures upon the assemblages of disparate objects. Not only did the shooting make a profound mark on the LA art scene, it also started the first artistic dialogue between Niki, her Nouveaux Realists European colleagues (Klein, Tinguely, Spoerri, Raysse) and some American radical artists of the West and the East Coast (Rauschenberg, Cage, Johns). Underestimated in art history, their dialogue about the perception of art, reality and authorship prefigured some key concepts of Pop Art which emerged in the U.S. a few years later.
In conjunction with the exhibition, HiE director Yann Perreau and co-curator Yael Lipschutz will present "Tirs: Reloaded" on January 22, 2012 as part of the Pacific Standard Time Performance and Public Art Festival. The performance will revisit the "shooting paintings" made by Niki in LA in 1961. In homage, contemporary artists Sterling Ruby, Melanie Schiff and others will ’shoot up’ new works. For more info, click here
Niki de Saint Phalle (1930-2002) was a rebellious and provocative French-American artist whose work was engaged with femininity, mythology, violence, personal anxiety and international political conflict. From the mid-1950s she was part of the Parisian avant-garde and came to prominence alongside the Nouveaux Realistes artists, one of the most important European art movements of Post War area. Throughout her life, she pursued a passionate and relentless assault against the constraints of conventional society, be they political, sexual, or aesthetic.
Niki de Saint Phalle, Film-Still of Daddy, 1972.
2011 Niki Charitable Art Foundation, All rights reserved.
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