Pain and Politics in Postwar Feminist Art: Activism in the Work of Nancy Spero - Rachel Warriner; | Foyles Bookstore
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Pain and Politics in Postwar Feminist Art: Activism in the Work of Nancy Spero
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Pain and Politics in Postwar Feminist Art: Activism in the Work of Nancy Spero (Hardback)

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Between 1966 and 1976, American artist Nancy Spero completed some of her most aggressively political work. Made at a time when Spero was a key member of the anti-war and feminist arts-activism that burgeoned in the New York art world during the period, her works demonstrate a violent and bodily rejection of injustice. Essential to this was a focus on pain. From the War Series (1966-1970) through the Artaud Paintings (1970-71), Codex Artaud (1971-2), and Torture of Women (1974-6), pain, both internal and external, was imagined in multiple forms. With an evolving attention to social violence, alienation and physical suffering, pain became metaphoric of the experience of women living under patriarchy, an amorphous but still profoundly disabling sensation that attacks both body and mind.

Exemplary of the way in which artists were using metaphors of sensation and emotion in their work as part of the anti-Vietnam war and feminist art movements in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Spero's practice acts as a model of a practice that seeks to represent how politics feels.

Considering the ways in which anti-war and feminist art used emotion as a means to persuade and protest, Pain and Politics in Postwar Feminist Art: Activism in the Work of Nancy Spero examines the history of this crucial decade in American art politics through close attention to Spero's practice. Situating her work amongst the activism that defined the era, this book examines the ways in which sensation and emotion became political weapons for a generation of artists seeking to oppose patriarchy and war.

Rachel Warriner is British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Courtauld Institute of Art, UK, where her research focuses on the important contribution of activist collectives to the American feminist art movement during the 1970s. She has published widely on feminist art and poetry.

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