Hundreds turned out Friday night for the opening night of the Niki de Saint Phalle exhibit at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido.
Wherever they turned they encountered fantastic beasts in amazing surroundings, the product of the fertile imagination of one of the most creative artists of the 20th and 21st centuries.
It was the largest attendance in many years, although California Center Executive Director Jerry VanLeeuwen wouldn’t say it was THE biggest. “It certainly was in the last ten years but I wouldn’t be able to say ever. The Chihuly glass show many years ago was a big event too I have heard,” he told The Times-Advocate.
The Center Museum exhibition not only features Saint Phalle’s print series Californian Diary, but also serves as the 15th anniversary celebration of her last work, Queen Califa’s Magical Circle.
Magical Circle itself is located in Escondido’s Kit Carson Park, and was the groundbreaking artist’s last commissioned work. Known for her larger than life sculptures, and her unique use of mosaic and fiberglass, Saint Phalle created an incomparable yet accessible view of what she called “Mythical California.”
The Center’s exhibition includes never before seen sketches, photographs, models, blueprints, and film documenting the creation and implementation of Queen Califa’s Magical Circle.
Niki de Saint Phalle was a legendary sculptor, painter, and philanthropist. Her work is featured all over the world, and made a never-ending impression in San Diego County, where Saint Phalle spent the last years of her life.
The exhibit will run until March 4, 2018.