Friday, May 28, 2010

Dancing in the streets

A lot of life was just added to New York Avenue here in DC recently thanks to the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
A series of sculpture exhibits is planned in the upcoming 5 years for a rather soul-less section of New York Avenue right downtown near the White House (between 12 and 13th streets). The first artist selected for the series is Niki de Saint Phalle, best known for her Stravinsky Fountain in front of the Pompidou Center in Paris.
Her large and colorful sculptures bring a smile to the face of everyone who sees them. The expressions they evoke are of pure joy and exuberance, just what dreary downtown needs sometimes! Even while taking these pictures, I got a lot of comments on how great they were.
The sculptures are in stark contrast to much of the art that is featured throughout the city: overwhelmingly traditional and much of it very staid and seriously themed.
The purpose of the exhibit is to bring the museum into the streets and the community. I think it will also bring some attention to NMWA which I have to admit I've never visited, despite living a mere 3 blocks away!
Saint Phalle liked to challenge the notion of what fine art is, and these pieces are no exception. Whimsical yet still monumental, I would imagine a lot of people enjoy these pieces a lot more than they would a trip to their local museum (or so they would think). Art is to be enjoyed, and these are undoubtably joyful!
They celebrate women, children, cultural diversity and love. I think we can all get behind those subjects.
Every 1 to 3 years, the installation will be changed out, but I hope this one remains longer rather than not. Even the signage for Saint Phalle is fun!Do you have a favorite local statue or exhibit to bring a smile to your face everyday? I would love to hear about it!

8 comments:

Terry said...

We had some Niki's in the Atlanta Botanical Garden for a while. The big ladies were all in motion, oblivious to their admirers on the ground. They were on the move and weren't interested in my opinion.

Karena said...

Stefan, how wondefully exuberant. The kind of art that brings such joy and inspirations to others!

Karena
Art by Karena

Renee Finberg said...

how cool is this???
i love itp.

xx

Lesley said...

Wonderful!
Reminded me of the Uk artist Beryl Cooke.
Suspect someone in this country would find some politically correct reason why we couldn't have those sculptures. I am in touch with the States quite a lot through the Garden Designers Round Table which is largely US based. And the enthusiasm and love of life and fun is like a blast of fresh air!
Enjoy your sculptures.
Best Wishes
Robert

Michael Mattison said...

Gorgeous event, gorgeous post!
I've always loved Niki de St. Phalle -- her art and her perfume, the latter of which I profiled myself not too long ago over on my blog.
Very jealous that this show did not take place in Stuttgart! :-) And I'm very jealous of a friend who is currently in northern Umbria, well within striking distance of the crowning glory of Niki's art: the sculpture garden "Giardino dei Tarocchi".
Thanks for posting, Stefan.
Best,
Michael

Mademoiselle Poirot said...

Did you know that these lovely ladies are called Nanas? Nana is the French (a bit slang) word for girl, babe, chick... you get the picture. I love her work, thanks for reminding me. Love from London x

Dandy said...

What fun sculpture! thank you for posting them. :)

sandrajonas.com said...

Wonderful post!! I saw some of her 'ladies' at 'Chatsworth' a classical English garden that boasts a Capability Brown landscape. The sculptures were such a stark contrast between old and new! Also bought her perfume for the entwined snakes on the blue bottle years ago!