Nancy Spero, ‘Hanging Totem II’, 1986, Anthony Reynolds Gallery
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Nancy Spero

Hanging Totem II, 1986

Handprinting and collage on paper
109 1/10 × 20 1/10 in
277 × 51 cm
About the work
Nancy Spero
American, 1926–2009
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A leading figure in the feminist art movement of the 1960s, Nancy Spero explored female sexuality, suffering, and heroism, as well as the horrors of war, in gouache and ink works on paper. Spero drew from ancient mythologies and iconographies to produce her burlesque cast of pagan goddesses, Celtic fertility figures, and Amazon warriors, which she pulled from books on ancient art before manipulating and incorporating them into her own drawings and collages. Her well-known 1966–70 “War” series, produced during the Vietnam years, explored the atrocities of war, a subject Spero revisited in her later career with frieze-like drawings installed around the walls of galleries, depicting masses of screaming figures and helicopters overhead dropping human-shaped bombs. Her work Cri de Coeur (2005) portrays mourning women from ancient Egypt. “I am thinking about the women’s condition, showing victimage or celebratory sexuality in an exaggerated way,” she once said. Spero was married to the late artist Leon Golub, and was a founding member of the feminist A.I.R. gallery, started in 1972.

Nancy Spero, ‘Hanging Totem II’, 1986, Anthony Reynolds Gallery
Save
Save
View
View in room
Share
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About the work
Nancy Spero
American, 1926–2009
Follow

A leading figure in the feminist art movement of the 1960s, Nancy Spero explored female sexuality, suffering, and heroism, as well as the horrors of war, in gouache and ink works on paper. Spero drew from ancient mythologies and iconographies to produce her burlesque cast of pagan goddesses, Celtic fertility figures, and Amazon warriors, which she pulled from books on ancient art before manipulating and incorporating them into her own drawings and collages. Her well-known 1966–70 “War” series, produced during the Vietnam years, explored the atrocities of war, a subject Spero revisited in her later career with frieze-like drawings installed around the walls of galleries, depicting masses of screaming figures and helicopters overhead dropping human-shaped bombs. Her work Cri de Coeur (2005) portrays mourning women from ancient Egypt. “I am thinking about the women’s condition, showing victimage or celebratory sexuality in an exaggerated way,” she once said. Spero was married to the late artist Leon Golub, and was a founding member of the feminist A.I.R. gallery, started in 1972.

Nancy Spero

Hanging Totem II, 1986

Handprinting and collage on paper
109 1/10 × 20 1/10 in
277 × 51 cm
Other works by Nancy Spero
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