During these years, spends most of her time on site of the Tarot Garden, where many of the major works are nearing completion. Works based on Tarot figures, accompanied by an artist book, are exhibited at Gimpel Fils, London and at Gimpel & Weitzenhoffer, New York. The Victoria & Albert Museum, London, acquires one of her perfume bottles capped with entwined serpents. Produces a series of flower vases in the shape of various animals. Meets Marcelo Zitelli who becomes an important assistant/collaborator. In collaboration with Dr. Silvio Barandun, writes and illustrates the book AIDS: You Can't Catch It Holding Hands, which is published in seven languages. Receives commission to create a fountain, Snake Tree, for the Schneider Children's Hospital, Long Island, New York. Has major retrospectives at the Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturtiftung, Munich, and Nassau County Museum of Fine Arts in Roslyn, Long Island.
With Tinguely, creates Fountain Château Chinon commissioned by French President Mitterand. Begins to be represented in Paris by JGM Gallery and Gallery de France. Begins use of bronze in new series of sculpture derived from ancient Egyptian deities. Continues to develop images that have long interested and impressed her, including Nana fountains, Tarot figures, phallic-like obelisks, skulls, Skinny lamps and a series of pictorial reliefs made in response to the killing of endangered species. The experience of the Tarot Garden carries over in her use of materials, particularly brilliantly colored or mirrored mosaics. The Palais Bénédictine in Fécamp, France, presents an exhibition dedicated to the Tarot Garden. Publishes a catalogue with texts by Pontus Hulten, Pierre Restany and Jean Tinguely. Collaborates with son Philip Mathews on an animated film based on her AIDS book. This film, drawings for the film, and a revised edition of the AIDS book, are published by the French agency in the Fight Against AIDS and exhibited at the Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Paris, opening on international AIDS Awarness Day in November 1991. Designs a giant kite, Bird Lovers, for a worldwide exhibition of artists' kites organized by Goethe Institute, Japan.
Makes maquette for Le Temple Idéal, a place for worship for all religions. This architecture was originally conceived in the early 1970s as a hopeful alternative to the religious intolerance she observed while working in Jerusalem. Receives commission from the city of Nimes, France to build this architectural sculpture. Because of politics, project is never realized. Jean Tinguely dies in Bern, Switzerland in August 1991. In his honor, she makes her first kinetic sculptures, the Meta-Tinguelys.
The Kunst und Ausstellunghalle, Bonn, organizes large restropective. Exhibits in McLellan Galleries in Glasgow, the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and the Musée d'Art et d'Histoire, Fribourg. Installs fountain The Rescuer (Lebensretter) in Duisburg, Germany and creates The Soccer Players (Les Footballeurs) for the Musée Olympique in Lausanne, Switzerland
Moves to La Jolla, California where she lives for next eight years. Contracts with Lech Juretko to organize a studio for the cutting of mirrors, glass and stones, which she is increasingly using in her sculptures instead of paint. Creates a series of silkscreens, California Diary, published by Ebi Kornfeld, as well as 26 lithographs created with two former collaborators of Sam Francis— George Page and Samuel Jacob. In October, the Niki Museum opens in Nasu, Japan directed by collector Yoko Masuda. Peter Schamoni completes a documentary film about Niki, Who is the Monster? You or Me? The French cultural organiz- ation AFAA organizes traveling exhibition to museums in Central and South America. Embarks on collaboration with Swiss architect Mario Botta for a major sculpture/arch- itecture project, Noah’s Ark, commissioned by the Jerusalem Foundation for The Tisch Family Zoological Gardens in Jerusalem, Israel. Awarded the Prix Caran d’Ache. Begins construction of Gila, a children’s playhouse in the form of a large dragon covered with mosaics, ceramics and glass, at a private residence in San Diego.
Works on first volume of her auto- biography Traces. Architect Mario Botta builds a gateway and adjacent wall for the Tarot Garden, which officially opens to the public on May 15, 1998. The Swiss Railways (CFF) commissions a monumental sculpture, Protective Angel, for the main station in Zurich. Finishes the last of twenty-two animal sculptures for Noah’s Ark as well as the Black Heroes series, an homage to prominent African- Americans including Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong and Josephine Baker. Largest American retrospective to date curated by close friend Martha Longenecker, director of The Mingei International Museum in San Diego.