An original and valuable intervention in the fast-growing field of feminist and new art histories, Nancy Spero, Encounters offers a sophisticated interpretation of the work of a highly original and under-represented woman artist. The study proposes a new model of comparatism within the field of visual studies, mirroring and complementing Spero's dialogic manner of working. Basing her analyses on extensive research and multiple face-to-face interviews with the artist, Joanna Walker examines how a selection of the artists and art forms Spero cited offer significant points of comparison with her work. Walker presents Spero's encounters with the art of Ana Mendieta; with the poetry of the American poet H.D.; with the dance of Isadora Duncan; and, turning the lens back on Spero as subject, with the portraits of the artist by Abe Frajndlich. Also included are transcripts of Walker's interviews with the artist, and a listing of the books contained in Spero's personal library which informed her practice. Not only does this book cast well-deserved light on an artist who spent most of her career on the margins of the mainstream - it reverses genealogies and revises the traditional remit of the art historical monograph through both its structure and content.
'This book makes an original and valuable intervention in the field of feminist and new art histories by offering a thoroughly informed and sophisticated interpretation of Nancy Spero's oeuvre, which is located in carefully mapped out historical, socio-political and theoretical contexts. Through the concept of the "encounter", Joanna Walker stages insightful juxtapositions between Spero's art, poetics and politics and those of creative practitioners from and beyond the visual arts, while also reversing genealogies and proposing an innovative model of comparatism from within the field of visual studies.' Alexandra Kokoli, The Robert Gordon University, UK, editor of Feminism Reframed: Reflections on Art and Difference and Susan Hiller: The Provisional Texture of Reality; Selected Texts and Interviews, 1977-2007
'This thought-provoking book makes an outstanding contribution to the literature on the work of Nancy Spero. Walker's stimulating and sophisticated analysis of "creative encounters" with different forms of contemporary practice is informed by theoretical insights, and offers some new models for understanding the thorny concepts of influence, agency and performance in Spero's work, and in women's practice more broadly.' Gill Perry, The Open University, UK
'…this book is a detailed account of Spero's art and working methods which rewards close reading… there is a wealth of information both on Spero and the wide range of creative thinkers and practitioners that Walker finds influencing her art, with the book's thematic encounters providing the framework to present what is an impressive range of research.' The Burlington Magazine
'There are some terrific insights in this book…' Woman's Art Journal
Contents: Introduction: an encounter with Nancy Spero; The body is present even if in disguise; Bringing HD to this moment; Perhaps dance is the first language; Epilogue; Appendices; Select bibliography; Index.