TABLE OF CONTENTS

passages

Nancy Spero

IN 1966, NANCY SPERO concluded that the language of painting was “too conventional, too establishment,” and she decided that from then on she would work exclusively on paper—flimsy, vulnerable, insignificant paper meant to be pinned to a wall. Having recently returned to the United States after a number of years in Europe, Spero was deeply disturbed by the atrocities the US military was committing in Vietnam, and over the course of the next four years, she created her first significant works on paper, the scores of gouache-and-ink pictures that make up her “War Series.” As she later described them to curator Barbara Flynn, these works express “the obscenity of war” via imagery of “angry screaming heads in clouds of bombs [that] spew and vomit poison onto the victims below. Phallic tongues emerge from human heads at the tips of the penile extensions of the bomb or helicopter blades. Making

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.