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Niki de Saint Phalle: Rebellion and Joy
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She blew up the art world.

One of the most imaginative artists of the second half of the twentieth century, Niki de Saint Phalle (French/American, 1930-2002) burst upon the international art world in theNiki de Saint Phalle, Yellow Nana1960s by literally shooting things up. An actress and model before she became a self-taught artist, Niki de Saint Phalle used art as a rebellion against a painful past; in so doing, she created a joyous, distinctive language of iconic forms such as her “Nanas”—powerful images of everywoman—that testified to her belief that art could change the world. Her performances, her persona, her boldly colored and whimsical sculptures, and immersive public art electrified, charmed and captivated viewers of all ages, even while they engaged with important deeper social issues.

This is the first US museum retrospective of Saint Phalle’s entire career, drawn from the Musée d’Art Moderne et de Contemporain (MAMAC) in Nice, France, the largest collection of her work, and the Niki Charitable Art Foundation—presented exclusively in the US at the Nelson-Atkins from April 27–July 21, 2024. Just under 100 paintings, sculptures, Niki de Saint Phalle, The Devilprints and films invite you into Saint Phalle’s universe, from her “Shooting” paintings where she fired a gun into her own works to her powerful and delightful Nanas to the metaphysical worlds of her Tarot Garden and her impassioned efforts to combat racism, gender inequality, and HIV/AIDS stigma.

Only at the Nelson-Atkins in 2024.


Organized by the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Nice, France, in collaboration with Manifesto Expo.

Musée d'Art Moderne ad d'Art Contemporain logoManifesto Expo LogoNiki Charitable Art Foundation

Detail: Artist Niki de Saint Phalle with her inflatable, Nanas Sur La Place, sculptures. Featured in Vogue, April 15, 1968. Photograph by Bert Stern © 2023 Condé Nast.
Niki de Saint Phalle (French-American, 1930 –2002). Dawn (yellow), 1995. Painted polyester, 56 11/16 × 46 1/16 × 27 15/16 inches (144 × 117 × 71 cm). Collection of the Niki Charitable Art Foundation. © 2023 Niki Charitable Art Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.
Niki de Saint Phalle (French-American, 1930 –2002). The Devil (Le diable), 1985. Painted polyester, 22 13/16 × 19 11/16 × 9 1/16 inches (58 × 50 × 23 cm). Collection MAMAC, Nice, France; Gift of the artist, 2001. © 2023 Niki Charitable Art Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.