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Nancy Spero papers, 1940s-2009

Creator:
Spero, Nancy, 1926-2009  Search this
Subject:
Golub, Leon  Search this
A.I.R. Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Topic:
Printmakers  Search this
Sound recordings  Search this
Painters  Search this
Collagists  Search this
Art  Search this
Transcripts  Search this
Feminism  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Interviews  Search this
Photographs  Search this
Video recordings  Search this
Slides (photographs)  Search this
Peace movements  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)8559
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)210738
AAA_collcode_spernanc
Theme:
Women
Audio - Visual
Chicago's Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_210738
Additional Online Media:

Nancy Spero papers

Creator:
Spero, Nancy, 1926-2009  Search this
Names:
A.I.R. Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Golub, Leon, 1922-2004  Search this
Extent:
27.5 Linear feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Slides
Sound recordings
Interviews
Transcripts
Photographs
Video recordings
Date:
1940s-2009
Summary:
The papers of painter, collage artist, and printmaker Nancy Spero measure 27.5 linear feet and are dated 1940s-2009. Biographical materials, correspondence, interviews, writings, subject files, personal business records, printed material, and photographic materials provide an overview of her exhibitions, major projects, and personal life. Also documented is her interest and participation in political movements and social issues including anti-war, women's rights, animal rights, repressive regimes, and the treatment of political prisoners.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of painter, printmaker, and collage artist Nancy Spero measure 27.5 linear feet and are dated 1940s-2009. Biographical materials, correspondence, interviews,writings, subject files, personal business records, printed material, and photographic materials provide an overview of her exhibitions, major projects, and personal life. Also documented is her interest and participation in political and social movements including anti-war, women's rights, animal rights, and raising awareness about repressive regimes, and the treatment of political prisoners.

Biographical materials include 29 audiovisual recordings about Nancy Spero and her work. Also found are biographical notes, resumes, and her passport. Correspondence concerns exhibitions, projects, travel, general news of family and friends, social events, and fundraising for political and social causes that Spero supported.

Interviews with Spero, conducted for a variety of purposes, include 7 audiovisual recordings, many transcripts, and published versions. Also, there are several joint interviews with Nancy Spero and Leon Golub. Spero's writings consist of notes, artist's statements, and articles. Also included are 7 audiovisual recordings of talks by Spero and her participation in panel discussions.

Subject files document many of Spero's personal and professional projects, relationships, and interests. Especially well documented is A.I.R. Gallery which includes 42 sound cassettes of talks presented in its "Current Issues and Events" series (1982-1984), gallery correspondence, exhibition documentation, and records of the A.I.R. Partnership.

Personal business records include many inventories and lists. Also documented are gifts, loans, sales, prices, reproduction permissions and fees. Printed material consists of a variety of items such as books, clippings, exhibition catalogs and announcements, periodicals, press releases and reproductions. Many items mention Spero and/or include reproductions of her work. Also found with printed material are 22 commercially produced audiovisual recordings about various subjects.

Photographic materials include photographs, digital images, slides, negatives and color transparencies of artwork, exhibition installations, and people. Artwork is mainly by Spero and exhibition installations record some of her solo shows. Images of people include Nancy Spero, Leon Golub, unidentified friends and family members.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged in 9 series:

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1950-2009 (Boxes 1-2, FC 31; 1.5 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1946-2009 (Boxes 2-4; 2 linear feet)

Series 3: Interviews, 1973-2007 (Boxes 4-5; 0.8 linear foot)

Series 4: Writings, 1950-2003 (Box 5; 0.8 linear foot)

Series 5: Subject Files, circa 1950-2009 (Boxes 6-18, 29, RD 30; 12.6 linear feet)

Series 6: Personal Business Records, circa 1976-2008 (Boxes 18-19; 1 linear foot)

Series 7: Printed Material, 1949-2009 (Boxes 19-25; 6.1 linear feet)

Series 8: Photographic Material, 1940s-2009 (Boxes 25-26, 29; 1.2 linear feet)

Series 9: Video Recordings, 1970s-1990s (Boxes 26-28; 1 linear foot)
Biographical / Historical:
Nancy Spero (1926-2009) was a figurative painter, printmaker, and collage artist in New York City whose multi-media work often incorporated text. She was an ardent feminist and activist whose political and social concerns were expressed in her art.

Born in Cleveland, Nancy Spero lived in Chicago from the time she was a very young child until completing her studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (BFA 1949) where she met her future husband, painter Leon Golub (1922-2004). She studied briefly in Paris and lived in New York City, returning to Chicago after her marriage in 1951. The couple and their two sons lived in Italy from 1956 to 1957. In 1959, after a few years in New York, the family moved to Paris where Spero developed an interest in existentialism and produced a series of black paintings. When Spero and Golub returned to New York in 1964, their family consisted of three sons.

Nancy Spero was strongly affected by the war in Vietnam and the many social changes of the period. She became a social activist and feminist, joined various organizations, and participated in a variety of demonstrations. Work such as the War series began to include political and sexual imagery. Spero was among the founding members of the women's cooperative A.I.R. Gallery established in 1972. In 1974 she decided to make women in mythology, history, art, and literature the exclusive subject of her work. Included in this vein are major series and installations, among them Torture of Women, Notes in Time on Women, The First Language, and her 66th Street/Lincoln Center subway station mosaic mural Artemis, Acrobats, Divas and Dancers.

Spero exhibited in the 1950 Salon des Independents and her first solo exhibition (in tandem with Leon Golub) was held at Indiana University in 1958. Thereafter, she showed sporadically until nearly 30 years later when her career flourished and she enjoyed international stature. Beginning in 1986, each year brought multiple solo exhibitions at galleries and museums in the United States and internationally. In addition, she continued to participate in group shows such as "Documenta" and the Venice Biennale. Her work is included in the permanent collections of museums throughout the world.

Awards and honors included the Skowhegan Medal for Works on Paper (1995), Hiroshima Art Prize shared with Leon Golub (1996), The Women's Caucus for Art award for Outstanding Achievement in Visual Arts (2003), and The Women's Caucus for Art Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement (2005). Spero was awarded honorary Doctorates of Fine Arts by The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1991) and Williams College (2001), and was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2006).

After several years of declining health, Nancy Spero died from heart failure in New York City, October 18, 2009.
Related Materials:
Also among the holdings of the Archives of American Art an interview of Nancy Spero conducted 2008 Februay 6-July 24, by Judith Olch Richards, and the papers of Spero's husband, Leon Golub.
Provenance:
Gift of Nancy Spero in 1979. The majority of the collection was donated by her sons, Stephen Golub, Philip Golub, and Paul Golub in 2013.
Restrictions:
Use of original material requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Rights:
The Nancy Spero papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws
Topic:
Art -- Political aspects  Search this
Feminism  Search this
Collagists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Printmakers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Women artists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Peace movements  Search this
Genre/Form:
Slides
Sound recordings
Interviews
Transcripts
Photographs
Video recordings
Citation:
Nancy Spero papers, 1940s-2009. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.spernanc
See more items in:
Nancy Spero papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-spernanc
Additional Online Media:

A.I.R. Gallery (New York, N.Y.) [Folder]

Additional name:
AIR Gallery  Search this
Contents:
Folder(s) may include exhibition announcements, newspaper and/or magazine clippings, press releases, brochures, reviews, invitations, illustrations, resumes, artist's statements, exhibition catalogs.
Place:
New York (N.Y.)
Topic:
Art Organizations  Search this
Location:
Art & Artist files at the Smithsonian American Art Museum/ National Portrait Gallery Library
Data source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:SILAF_99560

Growing evidence / words and images by Barbara Roux

Writer of text:
Roux, Barbara A. 1946-  Search this
Author:
A.I.R. Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Subject:
Roux, Barbara A. 1946-  Search this
Physical description:
34 pages : chiefly color illustrations ; 20 x 25 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Specimens
Exhibition catalogs
Artists' books (books)
Smithsonian Libraries artists' books
Date:
2013
Topic:
Photography, Artistic  Search this
Nature photography  Search this
Nature in art  Search this
Forests in art  Search this
Trees in art  Search this
Plants in art  Search this
Hurricane Sandy, 2012  Search this
Artists' books  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1031837

Justine remembered / Dotty Attie

Author:
Attie, Dotty 1938-  Search this
A.I.R. Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Subject:
Attie, Dotty 1938-  Search this
Physical description:
1 folded sheet (10 p.) : ill. ; 16 x 5 cm
Type:
Specimens
Artists' books (books)
Smithsonian Libraries artists' books
Date:
1983
[1983]
Topic:
Artists' books  Search this
Call number:
N7433.4.A87 A4 1983
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_942404

Blind / Jane Gilmor

Title:
Blind : an installation
Artist:
Gilmor, Jane  Search this
Writer of added commentary:
Freedman, Matt  Search this
Publisher:
A.I.R. Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Subject:
Gilmor, Jane  Search this
Physical description:
1 volume (unpaged) : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 26 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Exhibition catalogs
Place:
New York (State)
New York
Date:
2005
Topic:
Installations (Art)  Search this
Call number:
N6537.G489 A4 2005
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1075100

Beware the lady : new paintings and works on paper, Susan Bee / essay by John Yau

Title:
Susan Bee
Author:
Bee, Susan  Search this
Yau, John 1950-  Search this
A.I.R. Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Subject:
Bee, Susan  Search this
Physical description:
[16] p. : ill. (some col.) ; 22 cm
Type:
Books
Exhibitions
Date:
2000
[2000]
Call number:
N6537.B431 A4 2000
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_729973

Seeing double : Paintings by Susan Bee and Miriam Laufer / Essay by Johanna Drucker

Title:
Seeing Double : Susan Bee and Miriam Laufer
Author:
Drucker, Johanna 1952-  Search this
Laufer, Miriam 1918-1980  Search this
Bee, Susan  Search this
A.I.R. Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Subject:
Bee, Susan  Search this
Physical description:
[14] p. : ill. (col.) ; 21 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Date:
2006
[2006]
20th century
Topic:
Women artists  Search this
Art, Modern  Search this
Women in art  Search this
Call number:
N6537.B431 A4 2006
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_782843

Dialectics of isolation : an exhibition of third world women artists of the United States ... September 2 through September 20, 1980

Author:
Baca, Judith Francisca  Search this
A.I.R. Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Subject:
Dialectics of Isolation (1980 : New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Physical description:
[19 p.] : ill. ; 21 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Place:
United States
Date:
1980
C1980
20th century
Topic:
Art, American  Search this
Ethnic art  Search this
Feminism and art  Search this
Call number:
N6512 .D515 1980
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_643362

7 American women : the depression decade : Rosalind Bengelsdorf, Lucienne Bloch, Minna Citron, Marion Greenwood, Doris Lee, Elizabeth Olds, Concetta Scaravaglione : an exhibition ... Vassar College Art Gallery, January 19 through March 5, 1976 ... sponsored by the A.I.R. Gallery ... : guest curators, Karal Ann Marling, Helen A. Harrison / Vassar College Art Gallery

Author:
Vassar College Art Gallery  Search this
Marling, Karal Ann  Search this
Harrison, Helen A  Search this
A.I.R. Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Physical description:
40 p. : ill. ; 28 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Place:
United States
Date:
1976
20th century
Topic:
Art, American  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Call number:
N8354 .V33
N8354.V33
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_78497

Jane Gilmor : I'll be back for the cat / by Joy Sperling

Title:
I'll be back for the cat
Author:
Sperling, Lynda Joy  Search this
Contributing essayist:
Wright, L (Leslie)  Search this
Freedman, Matt  Search this
Publisher:
A.I.R. Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Subject:
Gilmor, Jane  Search this
Physical description:
179 pages : color illustrations ; 23 x 29 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
United States
Date:
2012
20th century
21st century
Topic:
Performance art  Search this
Installations (Art)  Search this
Video art  Search this
Sculpture  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Cats in art  Search this
Women in art  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1068080

A.I.R. : OVERVIEW 1972-1977 : An Exhibition in Two Parts / A.I.R. Gallery

Title:
OVERVIEW 1972-1977
Host institution:
A.I.R. Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Essayist:
Robins, Corinne  Search this
Subject:
A.I.R. Gallery (New York, N.Y.) History  Search this
Physical description:
[44] pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Exhibition catalogs
History
Place:
United States
Date:
1978
20th century
Topic:
Art, Modern  Search this
Art, American  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1073275

A.I.R. 97 Wooster St

Author:
A.I.R. Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Subject:
A.I.R. Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Physical description:
[4] p. : ill. ; 59 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Place:
United States
Date:
1972
20th century
Topic:
Art, American  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_913332

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