De Saint Phalle was a revolutionary experimental artist. She gained world renown in the 1960s with her "Shooting Paintings." This style of painting, shooting paint cans with a .22 caliber rifle allowing the paint to spill out in random pattern on the painting, was very popular at festivals and public art shows and she toured the world creating art in front of large audiences.
She would move onto a very different style of art that would become her lasting legacy, that of her "Nanas" and other large colorful sculptures. She would dedicate a large part of her life creating and filling her garden with these sculptures. Her garden, "Giardino Dei Tarocchi" in Garavicchio, Italy, would take 20 years to complete and features sculptures of things seen on Tarot cards. During this time, she would create and exhibit many other sculptures worldwide.
She lived the last eight years of her life in the United States and her last major design work was the "Queen Califia's Magical Circle Garden" sculpture garden in Escondido, California. The Niki Museum in Nasu, Japan and the Sprengel Museum in Hannover, Germany have major de Saint Phalle collections. She passed away in 2002, but her legacy lives on through her charitable foundation (Niki Charitable Art Foundation) and through her many works.
Garfield Park is one of the largest and most significant conservatories in the United States. Its impressive main greenhouse, the Palm House, has over eighty varieties of palm trees growing under its roof. The Conservatory grows many chocolate trees and hosts its biggest annual event, the Chocolate Festival, each February.
For years in the mid-20th century, this cultural gem was an afterthought in the city as it is centered in one of the city's most challenging neighborhoods. Few visitors felt secure enough to eye the fantastic collection of plants. In the mid-1990s the city and the Park District became determined to change this image and began a long-term project to improve the facility and nearby city blocks in an effort to make this a more attractive site.
As part of this improvement plan, many major exhibits have been staged at the Conservatory to accompany the annual garden events. Led by the critically-acclaimed exhibit of the works of glass artist David Chihuly, Garfield Park has been very successful with shows that intermingle large art within the natural conservatory and garden setting.
Parking is free but limited to the Conservatory's small lot or on the street. Public transportation (take the Green Line train to the Conservatory stop) runs right to the front door. The suggested donation is $5 for adults; children visit for free. The Conservatory's recently remodeled gift store offers some very nice items and is definitely worth a visit.
Of the 34 pieces on display, "Grande Oiseau de Feu Sur L'Arche," is the brightest. This glistening silver firebird on an arch shines over visitors as they cross from the inside gardens to the outside lawn. There are 22 sculptures outside in the gardens and on the lawn. Visitors are encouraged to climb, sit, and enter many of these works, making them especially entertaining for children. Other pieces provide great photo opportunities, as they include built in seats and stands as part of the sculpture.
This great show does have a downside. Since most of the sculptures are displayed outdoors, on a rainy day, you will miss most of the colorful work unless you are willing to get wet.
Niki's style of sculpture is unique and any lover of color, freeform, or expression will love this show. She once said, "I have the irresistible urge to make things for the home. Crazy fun things." This show is full of "crazy fun things" and is one of the must see events in Chicago this year.
2007/06/24 오전 7:43
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