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b. 1926, USA

Nancy Spero Biography

In a groundbreaking career surpassing 50 years of practice and encompassing many significant visual and cultural movements including Conceptual Art, Post-Modernism, and Feminism, Nancy Spero made the female experience central to her art and challenged aesthetic and political conventions. Spero's lexicon was derived from an immersion in the history of images, notably from Egypt, classical antiquity, pre-history, and contemporary news media. She combined, fractured, and repurposed found imagery and adopted text to comment on contemporary and historical events such as the monstrosities of the Vietnam War, extermination of Jews during the Holocaust, and torture of women in Chile. With raw intensity, Spero executed works on paper and installations that persist as unapologetic statements against the pervasive abuse of power, Western privilege, and male dominance.

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Spero's work is held in over 50 prominent public collections worldwide including the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois; Centre Pompidou, France; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Spain; Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Tate Gallery, England; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Massachusetts; and Dallas Museum of Art, Texas. Major monographic exhibitions of Spero's work have been shown at renowned museums including the Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico; Centre Pompidou, France; Serpentine Galleries, England; Museo d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, and Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Spain. In 2007, Spero presented the installation Maypole: Take No Prisoners at the 52nd Venice Biennale.

Spero was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1926. She died in New York City in 2009. The Estate of Nancy Spero is represented exclusively by Galerie Lelong & Co.

Text courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co. New York.

Nancy Spero Featured Artworks

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S.E.A.R.C.H. AND D.E.S.T.R.O.Y. by Nancy Spero contemporary artwork
Nancy SperoS.E.A.R.C.H. AND D.E.S.T.R.O.Y., 1967Ink and gouache on paper
61 x 91 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. Paris Enquire about this work
Frieze II by Nancy Spero contemporary artwork
Nancy SperoFrieze II, 2001Hand-printing and printed collage on paper
20.25 x 49.75 inches
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Enquire about this work
Screw Corporate Art by Nancy Spero contemporary artwork
Nancy SperoScrew Corporate Art, 1974Handprinting and gouache collage on paper
24.1 x 21.6 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Enquire about this work
Explicit Explanation by Nancy Spero contemporary artwork
Nancy SperoExplicit Explanation, 1974Handprinting and gouache collage on paper
24.4 x 20.3 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Enquire about this work
Vietcong Prisoners by Nancy Spero contemporary artwork
Nancy SperoVietcong Prisoners, 1968Ink and gouache on paper
63 x 100 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. Paris Enquire about this work
Sans titre (Cimetière de Varsovie à l'extérieur du ghetto) by Nancy Spero contemporary artwork
Nancy SperoSans titre (Cimetière de Varsovie à l'extérieur du ghetto)Hand printing and collage on paper
52 x 64 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. Paris Enquire about this work
Dildo Dancer, Double Image by Nancy Spero contemporary artwork
Nancy SperoDildo Dancer, Double Image, 1990Hand print and collage on paper
47 x 62 cm
Gazelli Art House Enquire about this work
Dildo Dancer Circle by Nancy Spero contemporary artwork
Nancy SperoDildo Dancer Circle, 2003Hand printing on paper
Gazelli Art House Enquire about this work

Nancy Spero Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, RED at Galerie Lelong & Co. New York, New York
Closed
10 April–8 May 2020 Group Exhibition RED Galerie Lelong & Co. New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, American Women: The Infinite Journey at La Patinoire Royale – galerie Valérie Bach, Brussels
Closed
8 January–21 March 2020 Group Exhibition American Women: The Infinite Journey La Patinoire Royale – galerie Valérie Bach, Brussels
Contemporary art exhibition, Nancy Spero, The Warriors at Galerie Lelong & Co. Paris, Paris
Closed
14 March–11 May 2019 Nancy Spero The Warriors Galerie Lelong & Co. Paris, 13 Rue de Téhéran

Nancy Spero Represented By

Nancy Spero In Related Press

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The Searing Beauty of Nancy Spero Related Press The Searing Beauty of Nancy Spero 22 June 2019, Hyperallergic

Nancy Spero: Paper Mirror, closing tomorrow at MoMA PS1, is about as perfect an exhibition as you can imagine: setting, installation, and selection. It's a show I wish I could visit again and again, if circumstances hadn't prevented me from getting to it sooner. Curated by Julie Ault, an artist and co-founder of the activist collective Group...

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Mandatory Viewing: Nancy Spero’s Bold Feminist Art Related Press Mandatory Viewing: Nancy Spero’s Bold Feminist Art 13 June 2019, The New York Times

A small sign outside Nancy Spero: Paper Mirror at MoMA PS1 says 'this exhibition may not be suitable for all audiences.' Fair enough, since the show contains some abstract, impressionistic depictions of Vietnam War atrocities and some garden-variety nudity. But when you think of the importance of her work in this moment, the sign also feels like...

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Nancy Spero: Paper Mirror Related Press Nancy Spero: Paper Mirror 14 February 2019, art agenda

Who was here first—Nancy Spero, or Hernán Cortés? It may be too much to call Spero (or anyone) a 'universal' artist but her work certainly speaks to the weird postcolonial hybrids that survive as culture in the twenty-first century.

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Nancy Spero’s Festival of Death Related Press Nancy Spero’s Festival of Death 9 June 2017, Hyperallergic

When you first step into Galerie Lelong, Nancy Spero's Maypole: Take No Prisoners (2007) looks almost festive, with dozens of bright red ribbons hanging down and then swooping back up from the 15-foot-tall central pole. But it takes only a slightly longer look to register the 100 aluminum heads attached to those ribbons, as well as the variety...

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