CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 2/17/2022
Thursday, February 17 at 7PM EST, 192 Books and Paula Cooper Gallery present the virtual launch of What Is Now Known Was Once Only Imagined: An (Auto)biography of Niki de Saint Phalle, published by Siglio. Author Nicole Rudick will appear in conversation with book critic and biographer Ruth Franklin, live-streamed on PCG Studio. There is no login or rsvp required. A recording will be posted shortly afterwards.
Known best for her exuberant, often large-scale sculptural works that celebrate the abundance and complexity of female desire, imagination and creativity, Niki de Saint Phalle viewed making art as a ritual, a performance—a process connecting life to art. This unconventional, illuminated biography, told in the first person in Saint Phalle’s voice and her own hand, dilates large and small moments in Saint Phalle’s life which she sometimes reveals with great candor, at other times carefully unwinding her secrets. Nicole Rudick, in a kind of collaboration with the artist, has assembled a gorgeous and detailed mosaic of Saint Phalle’s visual and textual works from a trove of paintings, drawings, sketches and writings, many previously unpublished or long unavailable, that trace her mistakes and successes, her passions and her radical sense of joy. Saint Phalle’s invocation—her "bringing to life"—writes Rudick, "is an apt summation of the overlap of Saint Phalle’s life and art: both a bringing into existence and a bringing to bear. These are visions from the frontiers of consciousness."
Nicole Rudick is a critic and an editor. Her writing on art, literature, and comics has been published in the New York Review of Books, the New York Times, the New Yorker, Artforum, and elsewhere. She was managing editor of The Paris Review for nearly a decade. She is the editor of a new edition of Gary Panter’s legendary comic Jimbo: Adventures in Paradise (New York Review Comics, 2021).
Ruth Franklin is a book critic and former editor at The New Republic. Her first biography, Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life (Liveright/W.W. Norton, 2016) won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography and was named a New York Times Notable Book of 2016. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in biography, a Cullman Fellowship at the New York Public Library, a Leon Levy Fellowship in biography, and the Roger Shattuck Prize for Criticism.
Niki de Saint Phalle (1930–2002) was born in France, raised in New York and began making art at age 23, pursuing a revelatory vision informed both by the monumental works of Antonin Gaudí and the Facteur Cheval, and by aspects of her own life. In addition to her Tirs (“shooting paintings”) and Nanas and her celebrated large-scale projects—including the Stravinsky Fountain at the Centre Pompidou, Golem in Jerusalem and the Tarot Garden in Tuscany—Saint Phalle produced writing and works on paper that delve into her own biography: childhood and her break with her family, marriage to Harry Mathews, motherhood, a long collaborative relationship with Jean Tinguely, numerous health crises and her late, productive years in Southern California. Saint Phalle has most recently been the subject of retrospectives at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, in 2015, and at MoMA P.S.1, in 2021. Photo above courtesy of Niki Charitable Art Foundation Archives.
Hbk, 7.75 x 10 in. / 268 pgs / 200 color.
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