New York

Nancy Spero

Galerie Lelong & Co., New York

Few contemporary artists could call an exhibition “Cri du Coeur” (Cry of the Heart) and expect the phrase to be read unironically. But Nancy Spero has no compunction about agonized honesty, and her command of compositional and emotional synergies now appears quite effortless. As a caption for her new project’s central image, an acknowledgement of previously private motives, and an open letter to her audience in wartime, Spero’s outcry was wrathful, lyrical, heartbroken. Paradoxically, however, her mastery of the work of mourning made the work of art uplifting.

Cri du Coeur, 2005, an unframed frieze of hand-printed paper twenty-six inches high, bordered the gallery at floor level. Spero has long been dedicated to the frieze—with its linear, episodic, narrative structure, suggestive of processional dances and turning pages—and to archaic representations of the female figure, which she recasts

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