From Unappreciated Women Art Pioneers of the ’60s, by Alison Nastasi:
“Niki de Saint Phalle
French artist Niki de Saint Phalle’s Shoot Paintings of the ‘60s found the artist firing a .22 calibre rifle at bags of liquid pigment until they exploded onto a white surface. The works ”aimed an attack at the traditional views of art, religion, and patriarchal society as well as at the political situation that entwined the Cold War and the War in Algeria in a country — the United States — where carrying guns is legal.” From Phaidon:
To the casual observer of course, Niki de Saint Phalle is perhaps best know for her Nanas. These colourful feminine figures were initially made of papier collés and wool, and later of resin. They were a natural extension of the idea of fertility goddesses and births. She said the women were inspired by a drawing she did with Larry Rivers of his pregnant wife, Clarice.
One of the most infamous, Hon, meaning ‘She’ in Swedish, was constructed as a temporary monument at the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 1966, in collaboration with Jean Tinguely and Per-Olof Ultvedt.
As Reckitt writes in Art and Feminism, “visitors entered the gigantic , vividly multicolored female figure through the space between her legs, finding themselves inside a warm, dark ‘body’ that contained among other features a bar, a love nest, a planetarium, a gallery of ‘suspect’ artworks, a cinema and an aquarium.
Evolving from the earlier small-scale Nanas, Hon playfully paid homage to ancient and modern mythical archetypes of women as nurturer, while simultaneously demythologizing notions of the female body as a place of dark, unknowable mysteries.”
Read the rest here: