Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Remembering Nancy Spero


Letter from Nancy Spero to Lucy R. Lippard, October 29, 1971. Photo: Smithsonian Archives of American Art

A memorial service for the late artist Nancy Spero was held on Sunday afternoon at Copper Union. (I wrote a recap on Artinfo.) Because of the floating volcanic ash that has shut down most European airspace, Middlesex Universty professor Jon Bird and curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, who were scheduled to speak, were not able to attend. However, Bird recruited artist Hans Haacke to read his speech, and Obrist opted for Vassar art historian Molly Nesbit. They both provided wonderful bonus stories about Spero and her husband Leon Golub. (Big thank you to Eyjafjallajokull.) Yale School of Art dean Rob Storr was the last speaker and offered one of the event's finest moments:
Closing the service, Storr told one of his favorite stories about the artist. Having invited her to do a wall painting at an exhibition he was organizing, Storr arrived to find that Francesco Clemente had already claimed Spero's allotted space with a large painting depicting “a series of men interlaced, each one of them with an enormous erection.” Spero was undeterred. “Nancy looked at this and cracked a smile," Storr said, “and proceeded to surround Francesco’s painting with a series of gaping vaginas.”
– "The Art World Remembers Nancy Spero," at Artinfo

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