(Park City, UT) — Spain’s Guggenheim Bilbao. Paris’s Le Grand Palais. Park City’s Kimball Art Center. Later this month, they’ll all share the same bragging right — each exhibited Niki de Saint Phalle’s work.
While less known in the US, Niki de Saint Phalle is one of the foremost women artists of the twentieth-century. Her sculptures, paintings, and films showcase her remarkable grit, fierce independence, and bold, if not provocative, convictions. Kimball Art Center’s curator, Nancy Stoaks, is a leading expert on Niki de Saint Phalle’s artwork and says bringing Niki’s art to the Kimball is a coup for the community.
“Niki is one of the world’s most significant female artists,” Nancy said. “She purposefully and masterfully disrupted and challenged art norms and made her work — which was both personally reflective and politically engaged — synonymous with female empowerment. In many ways, she broke ground for today’s female artists.”
Saint Phalle first received worldwide attention for shooting her art. Filling polythene bags with paint and enclosing them in plaster, she would then shoot at the surface, causing the paint to explosively and dramatically drip. Her later work, the Nanas — light-hearted, whimsical, colorful sculptures of women — are what she is most known for today. The Nanas join a cast of reoccurring creatures and monsters that appear throughout her work, filling a complex universe that is unique to the self-trained artist.
Nancy, who has studied Saint Phalle’s work for years, has lectured on Saint Phalle’s art internationally and also wrote her master’s thesis on the artist, says the Kimball has a number of interactive and educational outreach efforts planned to further showcase the importance of the exhibition.
“With every exhibition we offer a collaborative activity in the gallery. During this show, we’ll have a space for visitors to reflect on the themes and react to the artwork with a community journal. We’ll also host classes, workshops, tours, and educational talks,” she said.
Some highlights include:
July 27th, 6-8PM — Feminist Friday. A chance for community members to gather and discuss Niki’s artwork in an intimate learning environment. Nancy Stoaks will lead the discussion and provide a tour.
August 8 and 15, 6-8PM — Woman Made. In this two-session class, participants will make their own individual Nanas. This workshop is for women and those who identify as female.
August 11, 10AM-12PM — Fire Away. Participants will have an opportunity to create their own assemblage with paint using spray bottles.
August 31, 6-8PM — Feminist Friday. A chance for community members to gather and discuss Niki’s artwork in an intimate learning environment. Nelvin Cecil Howell will lead the discussion and provide a tour.
In addition to these events, Nancy says the artist will be celebrated at the Park City Kimball Arts Festival. “At this year’s Arts Fest, August 3rd-5th, we’ll have opportunities for kids to be inspired by Niki’s art and create felt collages based on her work.”
Niki de Saint Phalle: Freedom Would Be Mine opens Friday, July 20th with a free community reception from 6-8PM. The exhibition will be on display at Kimball Art Center until September 16th.
For a complete list of exhibition events and to learn more or register, visit: KimballArtCenter.org.