Niki de Saint Phalle in the 1960s

Spring 2022
Pirodactyl over New York
Niki de Saint Phalle
Pirodactyl over New York
1962, Paint, plaster, and various objects on two wood panels, 98 3/8 × 122 × 11 3/8 in. (249.9 × 309.9 × 28.9 cm). Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. © Niki Charitable Art Foundation / ADAGP, Paris, 2021.

Featured Artists

Niki de Saint Phalle in the 1960s is the first exhibition to focus on the experimental and prolific work of French American artist Niki de Saint Phalle (1930–2002) during this pivotal decade. The presentation features numerous works from European collections, many seen in the United States for the first time.

The exhibition explores a transformative ten-year period in Saint Phalle’s work when she embarked on two of her most significant series: the Tirs, or “shooting paintings,” and the exuberant sculptures of women she called Nanas. Affirming the artist’s place in postwar art history, this show highlights these prescient works of performance, participatory, and feminist art, as well as her many transatlantic projects and collaborations.

Niki de Saint Phalle in the 1960s brings together major paintings, assemblages, and sculptures from this important chapter in the artist’s career, as well as extensive film and photographic documentation from the Menil Collection Archives. Niki de Saint Phalle in the 1960s is co-curated by Jill Dawsey, PhD, Curator, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego Michelle White, Senior Curator, the Menil Collection. A catalogue for the exhibition will be available September 2021.

Major funding for this exhibition at the Menil Collection is provided by Cecily E. Horton; a gift in memory of Virginia P. Rorschach; Bettie Cartwright; and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support comes from the Dragonfly Collection, Garance Primat; MaryRoss Taylor; Julie and John Cogan, Jr.; Robin and Andrew Schirrmeister; MCT Fund; Niki Charitable Art Foundation; UBS Financial Services and the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance.

Support for this exhibition at both the Menil Collection and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego is provided by Christie’s.

Institutional support of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture. Research for this exhibition was supported by the Terra Foundation for American Art.