PS1 COURTYARD: an experiment in creative ecologies

Niki de Saint Phalle. La femme et L’oiseau fontaine. 1967–88. Painted polyester resin. 137 3/4 × 118 1/8 × 82 5/8″ (349.9 × 300 × 209.9 cm). © 2021 Niki Charitable Art Foundation

PS1 COURTYARD: an experiment in creative ecologies reimagines the uses of and access to PS1's outdoor Courtyard, which is the interstitial space between the institution, its neighborhood, and the community. Featuring a series of new initiatives, including a participatory installation by artist Rashid Johnson, a series of Thought Collectives that will test out creative and forward-thinking propositions for the use of public space, and a generative commissioning program to reanimate the Courtyard’s concrete walls, the program will recast one of the few plots of open land in Long Island City—the fastest growing residential neighborhood in the US and a site of rapid gentrification—as a place for experimentation and engagement with urban ecologies.

Niki de Saint Phalle’s La femme et L'oiseau fontaine (1967) inaugurates the 2021 season in the PS1 Courtyard, part of a survey of the Saint Phalle’s work, Structures for Life, on view through September 6. Taking the form of a woman lightly balanced atop a bird, the fountain is an early example of Saint Phalle’s iconic Nana sculptures—joyful monuments to female power—as well as her growing interest in making art for a world beyond the confines of the gallery setting.

Punctuating the walls surrounding Saint Phalle’s fountain, The Stories of the Past Rejoice through Children's Skies (2021) is a new site-specific installation by Raúl de Nieves (Mexican, b. 1983) resembling stained glass windows, which offers a chapel-like space of reflection. Influenced by Mexican craft traditions, de Nieves was also impacted by seeing Saint Phalle’s public sculptures as a child growing up in San Diego, and his works echo her appeal to fantasy, mysticism, and material exuberance to explore the complexities of life.

PS1 COURTYARD: an experiment in creative ecologies is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Major support is provided by Allianz, MoMA's partner for design and innovation.

Generous funding is provided by the Bertha and Isaac Liberman Foundation, Jeffrey and Michèle Klein, and MoMA’s Wallis Annenberg Fund for Innovation in Contemporary Art through the Annenberg Foundation.

Support for Rashid Johnson: Stage is provided by the Junior Associates of the Museum of Modern Art.

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