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Nancy Spero

Nancy Spero
Usage Conditions Apply
Artist
Abe Frajndlich, born 1946
Sitter
Nancy Spero, 24 Aug 1926 - 18 Oct 2009
Date
1987 (printed 2000)
Type
Photograph
Medium
Gelatin silver print
Dimensions
Image: 36.8 x 41.9 cm (14 1/2 x 16 1/2")
Sheet: 40.6 x 50.5 cm (16 x 19 7/8")
Topic
Interior
Costume\Dress Accessory\Eyeglasses
Artwork\Sculpture
Nancy Spero: Visual Arts\Artist
Nancy Spero: Female
Nancy Spero: Society and Social Change\Reformer\Feminist
Portrait
Place
United States\New York\Kings\New York
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Abe Frajndlich in memory of Regina and Ruven Sapir
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
Copyright
© 2000, Abe Frajndlich
Object number
S/NPG.2000.94
Exhibition Label
Throughout her fifty-year career, Nancy Spero used art as the vehicle for pointed political, social, and cultural commentary. Defying the supreme authority of Abstract Expressionist painting within the male-dominated art world, she chose instead to represent the human figure, most often on paper, and frequently in nontraditional formats, such as banners, friezes, and scrolls. During the 1960s and 1970s, Spero critiqued the past and present victimization of women through multi-figure compositions that combine female imagery from a wide range of cultures and historic epochs—from ancient Egyptian sarcophagi to the modern magazine. In the 1980s, she became intrigued by female myths and archetypes embodying “the idea of the Goddess . . . a powerful, self-sustaining, and autonomous being.”
In this photograph, Spero poses with one of her favorite motifs: the Sheela-Na-Gig, a female figure brazenly exposing her genitals, which Spero interpreted as a Celtic goddess of fertility and destruction.
A lo largo de su carrera de 50 años, Nancy Spero utilizó el arte como vehículo para un incisivo comentario político, social y cultural. Desafiando la suprema autoridad de la pintura expresionista abstracta dentro de un mundo artístico dominado por los hombres, decidió representar la figura humana, a menudo sobre papel y en formatos no
tradicionales como estandartes, frisos y pergaminos. Durante los años sesenta y setenta, Spero criticó la victimización pasada y presente de las mujeres en composiciones de múltiples figuras que combi- naban imágenes femeninas de una amplia fuente de culturas y períodos históricos, desde los antiguos sarcófagos egipcios hasta las revistas del momento. En la década de 1980 se interesó por los mitos y arquetipos femeninos que encarnan “la idea de la diosa […,] un ser poderoso, autosuficiente y autónomo”.
En esta foto la artista posa con uno de sus motivos favoritos: la Sheela-Na-Gig, figura femenina que muestra sus genitales sin pudor, interpretada por Spero como una diosa celta de la fertilidad y la destrucción.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery