American artist Nancy Spero (b.1929) concentrates on the depiction of women: mythological women, movie women, tortured women. Inspired by classical and modern sources, she collages and imprints her contemporary goddesses on to long, papyrus-like friezes that scroll around museum walls. Her subject matter, which has ranged from the writings of Artaud to the Vietnam War, mirrors her life. Working in Paris in the cultural ferment of the 1960s, she moved to New York in the 1970s to co-establish the feminist gallery A.I.R. and to join with artists and critics such as Leon Golub, Robert Morris and Lucy R Lippard in forming the Art Workers' Coalition. Since the 1980s she has attracted international acclaim, her exquisite works giving form to feminist issues and new critical discourses. The Survey by Jon Bird, cultural theorist and curator of the first British retrospective of Spero's work, discusses developments in her practice since the 1950s. Contemporary art scholar and critic Jo Anna Isaak talks with the artist about her life and work.
Art historian Sylvere Lotringer, Edtior of Semiotext(e) and author of Overexposed, focuses on her 1993 installation at the Whitney Museum of American Art. In recognition of the impact Stanley Kubrick's Dr Strangelove made on her, Spero has chosen a scene from the screenplay; key excerpts from Gynesis: Configurations of Woman and Modernity by feminist theorist Alice Jardine on the place of women in a patriarchal culture complete the Artist's Choice section. Also included are a selection of Spero's own writings, many published here for the first time.