NANCY SPERO, Woman as Protagonist, Galerie Lelong & Co., New York, (23 – March 25, 2023)

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Galerie Lelong & Co., New York, is pleased to announce a solo exhibition by Nancy Spero dedicated to works created between the mid-1990s and the early 2000s, the final two decades of the artist’s life. Throughout a career spanning over five decades, the New York-based artist Nancy Spero (b. 1926 – d. 2009) foregrounded women’s experiences, challenging systems of authority and subverting aesthetic conventions in the process. Frustrated with the pervasive silencing of women’s voices in society, Spero was an activist who devoted herself to the advancement of women in the arts through hosting and participating in discussion groups, many held in her SoHo loft. Beginning in 1976, Spero made women the sole subject of her work to elevate their status from “other” to protagonist. In celebration of Spero’s unapologetic advocacy for the presence of women in the arts, the exhibition will coincide with Women’s History Month.
Abe FrajndlichPhoto: Abe Frajndlich
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. 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. Between 2019 and 2021, a major retrospective exhibition travelled to the Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany; Nordic Watercolour Museum, Skärhamn, Sweden; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk; and the Lillehammer Art Museum, Lillehammer, Norway. Spero’s installation Maypole: Take No Prisoners was presented in 2007 at the 52nd Venice Biennale, and later at MoMA PS1 as part of the retrospective exhibition Paper Mirror (2019). Spero was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1926. She died in New York City in 2009.
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