For over fifty years Nancy Spero has been developing a powerfully metaphorical visual language. A member of the first generation of American women artists with close ties to the feminist movement, Spero's activity has always been aimed at the construction of a new subjectivity, conquering the masculine space of painting with her army of vital, "crazy women," always in motion.
The book underlines the coherence of a career in which the artist has always focused on a lucid and powerful denunciation of the world's violence in all its forms. Spero's work has long been undervalued (as has that of Golub, her lifetime companion) and relegated to the realm of feminist debate. The full recognition of its value is a recent development, and for many the extraordinary power of the installation presented at the Venice Biennale in 2007, a visceral response to the post-9/11 military policy of the United States, to the horrors of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, came as a surprise.
Virginia Woolf said that war is man's business, and it is always going to be with us until space is given to the "other traditions" of the feminine world. In her most recent work, documented here, Nancy Spero seems to be saying that at the root of all this lies the power guaranteed by brutality and abuse.