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Niki de Saint Phalle Tarot Garden MoMA PS1
Photograph: Courtesy Peter Granser / © 2021 Fondazione Il Giardino Dei Tarocchi

These massive Saint Phalle sculptures are headed to MoMA PS1

A giant seven-foot-tall sculpture will welcome visitors to the gallery.

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver

A new stunning exhibit of massive sculptures is coming to MoMA PS1 this spring.

The art show, "Structures for Life" opening March 11, puts a spotlight on feminist artist Niki de Saint Phalle's with 200 works on view, including sculptures, prints, drawings, jewelry, films, and archival materials. It'll be the first show in NYC to review her work.

Born in France and raised in New York City, Saint Phalle started creating art in the 1950s that went against many of the art practices of the time. In the 1960s, she used a gun to burst pockets of paint upon plaster reliefs, for example. She's also known for her feminist and political works, spanning topics from women’s rights to climate change and HIV/AIDS awareness. She even published an illustrated book, "AIDS: You Can’t Catch It Holding Hands" in 1986 with Dr. Silvio Barandun to destigmatize the disease.

Hon Niki de saint phalle
Photograph: Courtesy Hans Hammarskiöld Heritage

The biggest draw for this PS1 exhibit will be Saint Phalle's large-scale outdoor sculptures called Nanas as well as models of architectural projects including, Le rêve de l’oiseau (built for Rainer von Diez between 1968 and 1971); Golem, a playground in Jerusalem that is a big black and white monster with three tongues; Le Dragon de Knokke, a children’s playhouse in Belgium that looks like a giant monster with a long tongue and tail; and La Fontaine Stravinsky, a whimsical fountain that moves and sprays water.

Nanas are her series of large, brightly colored sculptures of female figures. A seven-foot-tall sculpture called Clarice Again will welcome visitors to the show's gallery.

 Niki de Saint Phalle Maquette for Le dragon de Knokke
Photograph: Courtesy Katrin Baumann. © 2021 Niki Charitable Art Foundation | Maquette for Le dragon de Knokke

Saint Phalle's Tarot Garden is also part of the show. The sculpture garden based on 22 tarot cards is located across 14 acres in Tuscany and for this show, you'll see photos and drawings of it that the artist used for its various structures. The structures were massive — she actually envisioned experimental societies there "where you could have a new kind of life, to just be free," MoMA PS1 says. She even lived in one called "The Empress," which has a bedroom and bath in one breast and a kitchen in the other, according to the Wall Street Journal

You can see these and more at MoMA PS1, March 11 through September 6, 2021.

Niki de Saint Phalle Interior view of Empress, Tarot Garden
Photograph: Courtesy Peter Granser, 2020 Fondazione Il Giardino Dei Tarocchi | Interior view of Empress, Tarot Garden

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