08 April 2011

HON: a woman's Right


I've always been fascinated by the work of Niki de Saint Phalle. I think again & often, Vogue magazine and Diana Vreeland brought the World to my  Southern Gothic World in the 1960's. Born just before that year, I followed the landscape of art, interiors and fashion in those pages-even if my mother didn't always like what she saw-I got to see. It was between the two of us -
WE, the women of the house- a woman's decision-a woman's choice.

Niki de Saint Phalle

Artist Niki Saint Phalle creating her monumental HON ,Swedish for "she", commissioned for the  Moderna Museet, Stockholm.  Hon a giant reclining Nana, Saint Phalle's every woman sculpture, with an interior environment - museum goers walked through the giant Nana's open legs and entered the interior womb through the sculpture's vaginal like  portal.

 Birth of the 28 meters long, 9 meters wide and 6 meters high HON

The Hon 's overwhelming proportions help to emphasizes a woman's oppression- her mythical power- and her energy- often simultaneously. Saint Phalle had suffered a nervous breakdown before she turned to art, bringing that raw emotion of loss and return to all of her major works.

The Hon must have been a culmination of her own triumphs & own wounds dealing with the frustrating  societal boundaries that existed for  women.

The Saint Phalle work is no less powerful today-especially in a period that Congress has chosen to strip women of their rRghts- the right to decent affordable health care and the right to choose. It is no wonder that it's still a man's world-as long a woman's health and welfare are controlled by them.

Knowing a woman has the power to give Life-it is typical that a Man should think he can control that Life and its creator.

with collaborators Jean Tinguely and Per Olof Ultvedt & the 90 foot sculpture

The Hon installation 1966

from Planned Parenthood.org

"I brought my daughter and granddaughter with me. Women today - give us your voice. This is not a castle behind us, with a moat... (points to the Capitol building) We need to stop the war on women. NOW. Keep your voices lifted. Show up, show out, and make them do the right thing. Stop the war on choice. And to that I say, A woman's --not a man's - decision! "  Reverend Marcia Dyson

Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading sexual and reproductive health care provider. Our health centers provide the highest quality care through a wide range of services. To make an appointment at the health center nearest you, call 888-841-8459 or request an appointment online.

about Niki, Her Work- the Tate Exhibition

 Saint Phalle images from flickr here



  1. She is new to me. Thanks for the introduction!

  2. Thank you for reminding me of this amazing artist. And tha nk you for your clarity about women's health and the hideous fact that this "debate" about funding for PP is occurring in 2011. I keep telling myself that the death of patriarchy is happening and that these are the death throes, but sometimes it becomes depressing that after all these hundreds of years women are still forced to spend our power and creativity defending the rights to our bodies.

    I love your blog.

  3. I just shared on Facebook. This post and Niki de Saint Phalle and her work Hon lends this debate the perfect voice/art. I stand with you. Thanks too, for reminding us about her. Your lead-in paragraph was lovely!

  4. I too am a Nikki St. Phalle admirer from way back. "Hons and Rebels" indeed! Have you read "Originals" by Eleanor Munro? I actually don't recall if St Phalle is in it, but it's about women artists, wonderfully inspirational. Germaine Greer's "Obstacel Course" is another must-read in this area. Thanks for this great post, you always stir things up on many levels.

    PS--I recently came across 2 interesting things that I did not know about Nicholas Haslam: he is a cousin of Kate Middleton's; and, he knew Stephen Tennant and made a video about him in the 1960's. Would I LOVE to see that!

  5. It is not about the art or the artist, it is about you. You are a strong, clear-headed, fearless woman who cares about others. Thank you.

  6. What an informative post I had never heard of Nikki St Phalle must google more details.

    Diane, Nicholas Haslam is the cousin of Prince William not Kate.

  7. It is amazing to think that the issues today have not evolved much beyond those in 1966. The players are different, but the politics are the same.

  8. Love you. Thanks so much.

  9. I first became aware of Niki St Phalle in the late 70's when she introduced a perfume in a bottle that had as it's cap two intertwined snakes. The snakes were so characteristic of her style.

  10. I just signed this letter!
    I love Niki de St Phalle.
    Great post! THANK YOU!

  11. “Nope. Zero,” the president said to the speaker. Mr. Boehner tried again. “Nope. Zero,” Mr. Obama repeated. “John, this is it.” A long silence followed, said one participant in the meeting. “It was just like an awkward, ‘O.K., well, what do you do now?’ ”



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