Niki de Saint Phalle
MoMA PS1, Long Island City
April 05 – September 07, 2020
MoMA PS1 will present the first New York museum exhibition of the work of visionary feminist and activist artist Niki de Saint Phalle (American and French, 1930‒2002). On view from April 5 to September 7, 2020, the exhibition will feature over 100 works created from the 1970s until the artist’s death, including sculptures, prints, drawings, jewelry, and archival material. Highlighting Saint Phalle’s interdisciplinary approach and engagement with key social and political issues, the exhibition will focus on works that she created to transform environments, individuals, and society.
Early in her career, Saint Phalle pushed against accepted artistic practices, creating work that used assemblage and performative modes of production. Collaboration was always central to her work, including several co-authored sculptures made with the artist Jean Tinguely. Beginning in the late 1960s, Saint Phalle starting making large-scale sculptures, which led to an expansion of her practice into architectural projects, sculpture gardens, books, prints, films, theater sets, clothing, jewelry, and, famously, her own perfume.
From this period forward, Saint Phalle also created a series of innovative works that reflect an ethos of collaboration and engagement with the politics of social space. Addressing subjects that ranged from women’s rights to climate change and HIV/AIDS awareness, Saint Phalle was often at the vanguard in addressing the social and political issues of her time. Her illustrated book, AIDS: You Can’t Catch It Holding Hands (1986), written in collaboration with Dr. Silvio Barandun, worked to destigmatize the disease and was translated into six languages.