Niki de Saint Phalle: Structures for Life is on view at the MoMA from March 11 to Sept. 6, 2021. Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art

Niki de Saint Phalle: Structures for Life
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
From March 11 – September 6th, 2021

In what is not only her first New York exhibition but her first major United States exhibition, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is presenting the work of visionary feminist artist Niki de Saint Phalle (1930-2002), on display from March 11 to Sept. 6, 2021, under the name Structures for Life. The exhibition will present over 200 works created from the mid-1960s until Saint Phalle’s death, highlighting her interdisciplinary approach and her commitment to social and political issues throughout various sculptures, prints, drawings, jewelry, films, and archival materials. With the main focus on her works that she created to transform environments, individuals, and society, this display is not one to miss – especially during Women’s History Month.

Often known as an advocator for the social and political issues of her time, Saint Phalle addressed subjects from women’s rights to climate change and HIV/AIDS awareness, creating innovative works that reflected such issues. She even illustrated a book called AIDS: You Can’t Catch It Holding Hands, in 1986.

The exhibit will hone in on Saint Phalle’s sculptural and architectural work. Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art

Saint Phalle, who was born in France and raised in New York City, originally gained traction in the early 1960s with her Tirs series, which means “gunshot” in French, and her other series titled Nanas. Tirs is a series of paintings created by firing a gun at plaster reliefs to release pockets of paint, while Nanas is a series of brightly colored sculptures of curvy females, which eventually led to her work creating large-scale sculptures in the late 1960s. With the expansion into different mediums, Saint Phalle was able to delve into the creation of architectural projects, sculpture gardens, books, prints, films, theater sets, clothing, jewelry, and her own perfume.

The French-American artist’s large-scale outdoor sculptures and architectural projects are central to the exhibition. Here, visitors will be able to view Le rêve de l’oiseau, which she built for actor-director Rainer von Dietz between 1968 and 1971, Golem, a playground in Jerusalem, Le Dragon de Knokke, a children’s playhouse in Belgium, and La Fontaine Stravinsky. A wide range of archival works that have never been exhibited will also be on view.

Perhaps more notably known as Saint Phalle’s central-life project is Tarot Garden, a massive architectural park outside of Rome, Italy. The garden and its structures highlight her use of art to alter perception to which Structures for Life will replicate through its presentation of photographs and drawings of Tarot Garden, as well as models that Saint Phalle created for its various structures which she began constructing in the late 1970s and developed until her death.

To reserve timed tickets to view Structures for Life, click here.

The exhibit displays work from the mid-1960s until Saint Phalle’s death in 2002. Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art

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