Nancy Spero: An Interview

1982 | 00:35:00 | United States | English | B&W | Mono | 4:3 | Video

Collection: On Art and Artists, Interviews, Single Titles

Tags: Blumenthal/Horsfield Interviews, Feminism, Interview, Mixed media, Myth, Politics

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Best known for her drawings and prints, Nancy Spero (1926-2009) worked as an oil painter on both paper and canvas and with installations. As both artist and activist, Nancy Spero's career spanned fifty years. Spero was active in many radical groups including WAR (Women Artists and Revolution) and AIR (Artists in Residence), the first women’s cooperative gallery in New York. She was renowned for her continuous engagement with contemporary political, social, and cultural concerns. Spero chronicled wars and apocalyptic violence as well as articulating visions of ecstatic rebirth and the celebratory cycles of life. Her complex network of collective and individual voices was a catalyst for the creation of her figurative lexicon representing women from prehistory to the present in such epic-scale works as Torture of Women (1976), Notes in Time on Women (1979) and The First Language (1981).

"I started doing a war series in 1966...the Vietnam was was going on, which was both a personal and political crisis actually," she says in this interview with Kate Horsfield. "I felt that I really could not go on painting, forever, in the way that I had...I had to rethink what I was doing as an artist. So, I started thinking about the Vietnam war as content for the work."

A historical interview originally recorded in 1982 and re-edited in 2003 with support from the Lyn Blumenthal Memorial Fund.