Thursday, September 16, 2010

Niki de Saint Phalle sculpture project in D.C.

Just outside the National Museum of Women in the Arts
is a median strip filled with Niki de Saint Phalle's
amazing mosaic sculptures. That's the three graces
dancing above. Niki's work is the first exhibit
as part of the NMWA New York Ave. sculpture project.
The sculptures will be there through the end of October...
Here's press release on the project from Niki's Charitable Art foundation website:

I had the fun of wandering among them
with two of my granddaughters before we entered the
museum. Since Niki called her monumental female
sculptures "Nanas", it seemed especially appropriate
to bring along my granddaughters who call me Nana.
They know I would love to ride a dolphin too!

It also was fun to view them with my 7 and 9 year
old granddaughters since they are heavily into Greek
mythology (Thanks to the Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson
series.) Of course they thought Niki's "Serpent Tree"
looked more like the Hydra. They could see how Niki's
work was inspired by exuberance for life and and
intrigue with myth.

Niki's life story told in a video in the museum
and how she felt art "saved" her is full of pathos.
But bottom line, this extraordinary and gutsy woman
has left us a heritage of amazing, energy filled public
sculpture. I only wish she knew what we know now about
the dangers of certain paint chemicals so that she would
not have had to suffer lung problems for so many
years before her death 8 years ago.

My favorite part of these sculptures are that they are
fountains!! Look closely at the detail above and you'll
see the water spouts on arms, head etc. The water
isn't turned on too often - just enough to keep the flowers
watered apparently..but fortunately was on when we first
approached New York Ave.

Nana duties taken care of for the moment, I'm back
in the studio working for open studios and shows...
more on that next week!

Journey on! Wendy


  1. Lovely post, Wendy. So lovely I've tweeted it to the followers of Mosaic Art NOW. Then I looked at your work and blimey if I don't have one of your masks staring at me from the kitchen wall right now! I believe I bought him in New York at the Armory show maybe 8 years ago? I love him still.

    Cheers -- Nancie

  2. Thanks Nancie...and for tweeting about the blog.
    Ironically I'm working on masks in the studio
    right now..for Open Studios Oct. 2-3 and the Paradise City Arts Festival in Northampton Columbus Day Weekend. Unfortunately the NYC
    armory shows have been I'm exploring other NYC venues. Thanks for alerting me to the mosaicartnow blog...very cool!...Wendy

  3. What exuberant, woman-centered, joy-filled sculptures! Thanks so much for sharing.

  4. Hi Wendy, I've just started doing a blog (,and recently started making mosaics. I used to teach art history, and never missed an opportunity to introduce students to Nikki de Saint Phalle's work, which I find inspiring on a number of levels. I'm wondering if I can include a link to your blog in mine, and possibly also use a couple of your photos of the 3 Graces — they are quite nice shots, capturing both the mosaics and the joie de vivre. I also intend to track down some of the links on your blog — thank you!