Last weekend I was in Charlotte, NC for the alumni conference of the Queens MFA Program in Creative Writing, and I made a point of swinging by downtown and the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art to see their outdoor exhibit of sculptures by Niki de Saint Phalle. I’ve been a fan of her work ever since I first saw an exhibit of her work in Munich in 1987. So I was quite thrilled to be able to see and especially touch some scupltures of her again, this time in the heart of Charlotte’s downtown.

One thing I love about her work is that you can interact with them. This skull is hollow and you can walk into its left ear and look out through its teeth. Little kids think that is especially cool.

Here you can see, I hope, how tactile the surface of this mother-child sculpture is – it’s wonderful to run your fingers over the glassy round stones that are embedded into the cement.

I love this juxtaposition of skyscrapers and mirrored funky sun head:

Here, one last look: the skull in the background, and Louis Armstrong in the foreground.