Nancy Spero

Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)

DOES THE ART OF Nancy Spero put one in mind, above all, of books? This is the question raised by “Nancy Spero: Dissidances,” a retrospective of the fifty-plus years of the artist’s career jointly organized by the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid (where it is currently on view). Assembling an impressive quantity of Spero’s different projects, and drawing on their “allusions . . . to literary artifacts” such as codices, papyri, and manuscripts, curators Manuel J. Borja-Villel and Rosario Peiró propose to “re-evaluate [Spero’s] work . . . as a compendium of diverse writings,” and have thus selected the motif of the book as paradigmatic of her textual project. Spero’s “book,” they write, is “the mirror of the body,” its forms and figures exemplifying Hélène Cixous’s concept of écriture féminine—a performative, physical language

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