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Nancy Spero in "Protest"

For decades, Nancy Spero has drawn from the political to create compelling works of art that make a statement against war, the abuse of power and our male-dominated society. Regarding her paintings made during the Vietnam War, Spero says: “I guess maybe my art can be said to be a protest…The War paintings are certainly a protest because it was done with indignation.”

Spero further explains how the politically-inspired work of her late husband, Leon Golub, not only stimulated, but also posed a challenge for her own work. “It was pretty damned difficult contending with someone who was so…brilliant,” she says. Viewers observe Spero as she creates a new work for the Venice Biennale.

More information and credits


Created by: Susan Sollins & Susan Dowling. Executive Producer & Curator: Susan Sollins. Series Producer: Eve-Laure Moros Ortega. Associate Producer: Migs Wright. Associate Curator: Wesley Miller. Production Manager: Alice Bertoni & Nick Ravich. Production Coordinator: Amanda Donnan & Meredith Klein. Consulting Director: Charles Atlas. Editor: Lizzie Donahue. Director of Photography: Christine Burrill, Bob Elfstrom, Mead Hunt, & Joel Shapiro. Additional Photography: David Howe & Nick Ravich. Sound: Tom Bergin, Ray Day, Mark Mandler, Roger Phenix, Yuri Raicin, & Merce Williams. Audio Technician: Peter Holcomb. Assistant Camera: Sean Brown, Craig Feldman, Brian Hwang, Michael Pruitt-Bruun, & Amy Lane Tucker. Production Assistant: Sebastián Dib Ruiz. Makeup: Kim Baker. Additional Animation: Ben Baudhuin, Shawn Dunbar, & Joaquin Perez.

Creative Consultant: Ed Sherin. Art Direction & Design: Open, New York. On-Line Editor: Don Wyllie. Composer: Peter Foley. Voice-Over Artist: Jace Alexander. Sound Editing: Margaret Crimmins & Greg Smith. Sound Mix: Cory Melious & Tony Volante. Animation Stand: Frank Ferrigno. Assistant Editor: Ahmed Amer, Jennifer Chiurco, & George Panos.

Artworks Courtesy of: © 2007 Jenny Holzer, member Artist Rights Society (ARS), NY; Alfredo Jaar; An-My Lê; Nancy Spero; Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, Santiago de Compostela; Cheim & Read, New York; Galerie Lelong, New York; & Murray Guy, New York.

Special Thanks: Erick Anderson; The Art21 Board of Trustees; Vanessa Bergonzoli; Bob Robert Blanton; Brand X Editions, New York; Marc Breslin; Steven Brooks; Chris Burnside; Pat Casteel; Henri Cole; Dog Bark Sound; Elena Exposito; Christopher Fedorak; Frame:Runner NYC; Fundacion Telefonica Chile, Santiago; Galeríia Gabriela Mistral, Santiago; Mike Glier; Mary Beth Gregg; Janice Guy; Deborah Herring; Stephanie Joson; Meredith Klein; Samm Kunce; Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton; Mindy McDaniel; Capt. Beverly Miramontes; Margaret Murray; John Pilson; Rebecca Shalomoff; Amy Shapiro; Silverstein Properties; Margarita Silva Donoso; Irene Sosa; Sound Lounge; Joonyoung Suk; Tilcon New York; Joe Tompkins; Claudia Villaseca Casanueva; Joyce Watson; & Steve Wylie.

Director of Education & Public Programs: Tana Hargest. Education Consultant: Jessica Hamlin. Manager of Public Programs & Outreach: Kelly Shindler. Web Producer: Ana Otero. Senior Development Officer: Beth Allen. Development Associate: Sara Simonson. Development Coordinator: Erin Cesta & Katherine Payne.

Interns: Stephanie Abraitis, Alex Agnant, Gabriella della Croce, Nora Herting, Milena Hoegsberg, Rives Kitchell, Katie McCurry, Simone Otenaike, Karoline Pfeiffer, Nick Pozek, Carolina Puente, Muña Qamar, Bettina Riccio Henry, Meg Scally, Karen Seapker, Peter Sebeckis, Lucy Strong, & Kelly Williamson.

Public Relations: Goodman Media International. Station Relations: De Shields Associates, Inc. Legal Counsel: Albert Gottesman. Bookkeeper: Marea Alverio-Chaveco & Valerie Riley. Travel Agent: Lita Gottesman.

Major underwriting for Season 4 of Art in the Twenty-First Century is provided by National Endowment for the Arts, PBS, Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Bloomberg, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, Bagley Wright Fund, and W.L.S. Spencer Foundation.

Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Nancy Spero

Nancy Spero is a pioneer of feminist art. Her work since the 1960s is an unapologetic statement against the pervasive abuse of power, Western privilege, and male dominance. Executed with a raw intensity on paper and in ephemeral installations, her work often draws its imagery and subject matter from current and historical events. Spero samples from a rich range of visual sources of women as protagonists to create figures that co-exist in nonhierarchical compositions on monumental scrolls, visually reinforcing principles of equality and tolerance.

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Politics & Protest

Nancy Spero discusses her reasons for creating politically-motivated works.

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