javascript:void(0) Nancy Spero (1926 - 2009) ~ On Air: The Official Blog of A.I.R. Gallery


Nancy Spero (1926 - 2009)

Nancy Spero (1926-2009)

Nancy Spero, one of the co-founders of A.I.R. Gallery and a member artist from 1972– 1983, was a strong advocate for feminism and the advancement of women in the arts.

During her first solo exhibition at A.I.R. in 1973, Spero developed her signature scroll paintings in which text and image were united on long scrolls of paper, glued end-to-end and tacked without ceremony to the gallery walls. Her disregard for formal, grandiose presentation and preoccupation with intimacy and immediacy remained a theme  throughout her career.

Nancy Spero was a prolific artist working in a variety of media, drawing from a broad range of sources, including fashion magazines, Etruscan and Roman frescoes, tomb sarcophagi, the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement and feminist history. Social and political activism was a central theme in Spero’s art from early works, such as “G.L.O.R.Y.” (1967), up to recent works such as “Maypole: Take No Prisoners” (2007), which premiered at the 2007 Venice Biennale. She served as a member of the Art Workers Coalition (1968-69) and Women Artists in Revolution (1969) before joining nineteen other women artists to form A.I.R. Gallery (1972).

More recently, Spero expanded her repertoire to include public art commissions with the exemplary installation “Artemis, Acrobats, and Dancers”, a mosaic that graces the walls of New York City’s 66th Street Lincoln Center Subway Station (2005 MTA Arts for Transit). Spero’s works are also part of the permanent collections of the Chicago Institute of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Walker Art Center, among others. In 2010 the Centre George Pompidou, Paris will hold a retrospective exhibition of her work.

Nancy Spero has come to be a much-loved role model for women artists. The arts community is feeling the great loss of her inspirational voice which championed equality, peace, and tolerance since the 1960’s.

1. Nancy Spero
2. Nancy Spero at A.I.R. Gallery c.1975
3. Postcard for Nancy Spero exhibition at A.I.R., 1974
4. Postcard for Nancy Spero exhibition at A.I.R, 1973

We hope this post will be used as a forum for people to share memories, recollections and tributes to Nancy Spero. Please click "comments" below to add a posting.

We would like to give a special thanks to Mary Beth Edelson for providing these early images of Nancy Spero to the gallery.

A.I.R. Members including Nancy Spero at A.I.R. © Mary Beth Edelson

A.I.R. Members including Nancy Spero at A.I.R. © Mary Beth Edelson

Nancy Spero at a MoMa demonstration © Mary Beth Edelson
Death of the Patriarchy, by Mary Beth Edelson © Mary Beth Edelson


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Nancy was a complex and wonderful woman and artist. I got to know her in the course of doing my MFA thesis on her. She worked tirelessly helping me document her work from the very beginning of her career. In the process of working together for one year, we became friends. I will always treasure my memories of times spent with her and the piece from the Artaud series that she gave me..."papa's little bed pal, lump of love". May she rest in peace.
You are fondly missed...much love, Nancy.

Great to see these early pioneers work.

Hi let me tell you tha nancy dont die in vain she was amazing i really admire her

Nancy was such an inspiring artist.

This is truly amazing I like the work that you have done.Thanks for sharing new Art.I think you will be successful..

Her work is truly amazing. Great masterpieces.