22 Jun 2021
On view from March 11 to September 6, 2021, Niki de Saint Phalle: Structures for Life will feature over 200 works created from the mid-1960s until the artist’s death, including sculptures, prints, drawings, jewellery, films, and archival materials. 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.
Through this patronage, La Prairie honours Saint Phalle’s audacious and visionary feminist spirit – her defiance of social norms and her willingness to break the codes both in her personal life and work.
This collaboration is an opportunity for the Swiss luxury house to enable the world to experience Saint Phalle’s revolutionary work and also to shine a light on her achievements as a woman and an avant-garde feminist artist who devoted her life to her vision – one of social, racial and gender equity.
“Niki de Saint Phalle created artwork that explicitly rejected patriarchal values and artistic convention. Her Nanas confront Western standards of femininity and decorum: they are brash, ecstatic, and embrace sexuality. She created her Nanas at such a large scale specifically so that they could dominate – literally tower over – men. Saint Phalle was also an iconoclast in her personal style and way of life,” according to Ruba Katrib, Curator of the exhibition.
Through her lifetime, Niki de Saint Phalle used her platform as an artist to bring attention to various issues advocating for women’s equality to provoke and trigger conversations – a legacy that today continues to inspire new generations of artists and women beyond. Niki de Saint Phalle also shaped art movements such as Nouveau Re?alisme. As the only woman in the 1960s-founded group, she offered a unique perspective and proved her art was as innovative as her male counterparts.
“This collaboration with MoMA PS1 is a meaningful opportunity for us to share Niki’s philosophy with the world and associate her spirit: pioneer, perseverant, strong, feminist to the one of La Prairie. We are particularly proud to be able to support the life, oeuvre and cultural legacy of the artist we consider to be a pivotal encounter for our House,” said Greg Prodromides, Chief Marketing Officer at La Prairie.
Indeed, the work of Niki de Saint Phalle has a particular resonance for La Prairie as it was her striking use of cobalt blue that was the inspiration behind La Prairie’s iconic Skin Caviar Collection colour. In 1982, Niki was developing her eponymous fragrance from her atelier in a shared design studio in New York where La Prairie’s team would often engage in creative exchanges. When La Prairie encountered Niki de Saint Phalle’s cobalt blue – her favourite colour that she describes “as the colour of joy and luck” – the link became clear: only cobalt blue would do. A fortunate encounter that would spark a bond with the House of La Prairie and seal it forever.
Just as Niki de Saint Phalle raised awareness on modernist, progressive views, La Prairie’s founder paved the way to pioneering discoveries. Dr. Paul Niehans was a dreamer, a seeker of beauty. Art was central to his science, central to his dream to hold time in his hand, central to his pioneering spirit. A spirit mirrored in Niki de Saint Phalle’s inner flame of audacity. She expressed a new femininity, one which stood in opposition to the conventional influences and values of society.
This partnership with MoMA PS1 is an expansion of La Prairie’s support of Art and Culture by creating new connections with the world of art and its various representatives, whether emerging or established artists or cultural institutions. A commitment that continues to flourish and to build on the House’s existing partnerships with art fairs Art Basel and West Bund Art & Design and the iconic Fondation Beyeler in Switzerland.
Niki de Saint Phalle: Structures for Life is on view at MoMA PS1 in New York from March 11 to September 6, 2021, organised by Ruba Katrib, Curator, with Josephine Graf, Assistant Curator, MoMA PS1. More information at moma.org/ps1.