Nancy Spero: Dancers & Goddesses

Nancy Spero,Frith Street Gallery

Frith Street Gallery presents Dancers & Goddesses, the gallery’s first exhibition representing the Estate of Nancy Spero (1926–2009).

Focussing on a particularly productive time for the artist, 1984–96, Dancers & Goddesses shows the dynamic range of Spero’s ‘pantheon’ of figures, including athletes, mourners, dancers and goddesses.

After spending the early 1960s in Paris, where she made her series of Paris Black Paintings, Spero returned to New York in 1964 amid the unrest of the Vietnam War. Rejecting paint-on-canvas as ‘too heroic’, Spero devoted the rest of her life to working on paper, starting with the War Series (1966–70), paintings that confronted American aggression in Vietnam. She then worked on the Artaud Paintings (1969–70) and Codex Artaud (1971–72), tapping into the rage of the French poet Antonin Artaud (1896–1948) by integrating snippets of his poetry into her work. Notes in Time (1979), now in MoMA’s collection, marked one of the last works where she used language as a core medium. In the 1980s, she believed that the images could provide her with a hieroglyphic language, and she developed her own lexicon of ‘woman as protagonist and hero’: about 400 images of women, drawn from across art history, media and mythology, which she used and reused over the next three decades. With her cast of women from all walks of life, Spero wanted to reverse the tradition of portraying men as heroes: ‘I articulate women’s situation and actions from repressed, victimized states to buoyant, self-confident stances.’


Duration 23 September 2022 - 05 November 2022
Times Tuesday–Friday: 11–6 Saturday: 11–5
Cost Free
Venue Frith Street Gallery
Address 17-18 Golden Square, London, W1F 9JJ
Contact 020 7494 1550 / /