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Discover Outdoor French Art Across the US

Nicki de Saint-Phalle, Queen Califia’s Magical Circle, Escondido, California

What better mild weather activity could there be than exploring art outdoors? Below we've put together a list of 11 thought-provoking pieces by French and Francophone artists, located across the United States.

Situated in parks, sculpture gardens, public spaces and urban intersections from Chicago to New Orleans and Seattle to New York, these pieces include wind chimes, sailboats, sculptures, and much more. 

Nicki de Saint-Phalle | Escondido (cover image)

The city of Escondido (CA) was gifted Queen Califia’s Magical Circle Garden by the Artist Nicki de Saint-Phalle (1930-2002) herself. Inspired by California’s historic and cultural roots, the garden is composed of nine mosaic sculptures, covered with symbols inspired from Native America, Pre-Columbian and Mexican art.

Daniel Buren | Minneapolis 

After a sailboat race on Bde Maka Ska in June, this on-site installation entitled Voile/Toile – Toile/Voile (2018) by Daniel Buren (b. 1938) is on show at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden of the Walker Art Center, until October 7, 2018. Striped sails (the artist's signature) echo the sailing culture in Minneapolis, which is known as the "City of Lakes."

Camille Walala | Brooklyn, NY

Camille Walala at NOW Gallery © Charles Emerson

In May 2018, as part of Oui Design, a program initiated by the French Embassy, Camille Walala created a permanent monolithic mural for a building facade at Industry City. As you go to Rockaway Beach for the last hot days of summer, you can admire her pop, colorful work full of exuberant geometries.

Jean-Michel Othoniel | New Orleans

L’Arbre aux Colliers (Tree of Necklaces) made by Jean-Michel Othoniel (b. 1964) in 2002 is presented in the Sidney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden in New Orleans. It shows necklaces at a human scale, “in the very trees where Black slaves had been hanged during slave uprisings” the artist says. His aim was to “give a sublimated presence back to these absent bodies."

Louise Bourgeois | Seattle

Eye Benches, Louise Bourgeois | © Louise Bourgeois

During a walk at the Olympic Sculpture Park of Seattle, take a break and have a seat on these enigmatic Eye Benches (1996-1997) by Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010), which are, in the Artist’s words, “the expression, in abstract terms, of emotions and states of awareness”.

Alain Kirili | Dallas

Commandment V (1980), visible at the Nasher Sculpture Center, belongs to the Commandment series by Alain Kirili (b. 1946).These individual metal units evoke a game board, minimal floor installations by Alberto Giacometti and Jacob Epstein, and ancient ritual Jewish practices, as they look like handles of Torah scrolls, according to the artist.

Noémie Goudal | Lincoln

At the heart of DeCordova Sculpture Park (Lincoln, MA), Noémie Goudal (b. 1984) exhibits her photographic work Telluris (2017), which was inspired by her travel to the Mojave Desert in California. She used the landscape as a backdrop for wooden cubes, which evoke the abstracted form of a mountain, like a mirage.

Jean Dubuffet | Chicago

Jean Dubuffet, Monument à la bête debout, 1984.

This fiberglass sculpture Monument à la bête debout (1984) by Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985), located in front of the Thompson Center of Chicago, a city which was much appreciated by the artist, is based on his 1960 painting series Hourloupe, and is one of the three monumental sculpture commissions in the US. Dubuffet described it as a “drawing that extends into space”.

Bernar Venet | Denver

Two works by French-born American artist Bernar Venet (b. 1941) can be visited in Denver: Indetermintate Lines (2012), in front of the Colorado Convention Center on the Speer Boulevard side, and 222.5° Arc x 5 (2016), exposed in Commons Park. Both monumental sculptures are made with COR-TEN steel, and evoke moments of grace, vitality and non-conformity to logical ideas.

Xavier Veilhan | New York

Xaiver Veilhan, Jean-Marc, 2012, Courtesy Andréhn-Schiptjenko Gallery, Sweden /© Veilhan / ADAGP, Paris, 2012

Jean-Marc is located at 53rd Street and Avenue of the Americas in New York City. This permanent public sculpture by Xavier Veilhan (b. 1963), made in 2012 with high-tech industrial techniques, is a portrait of artist Jean-Marc Bustamante.

Arman | Saint Louis

This sculpture by Arman (1928-2005), an artist known for his use of found objects and accumulations, shows a voluptuous bronze female figure, an erotic sculptural collage that both amuses and horrifies. La Libellule (1996) is visible at the Laumeier Sculpture Park in Saint Louis.

Pierre Huyghes | Minneapolis 

Installed among the trees of the Walker Art Center of Minneapolis, Wind Chime (after Dream), created by Pierre Huyghe (b. 1962), between 1997 and 2009, is made of 47 chimes (288 tubes) which contain every note in the score of John Cage’s Dream (1948).

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