Nancy Spero Captures War’s Atrocity

THE DAILY PIC: At Galerie Lelong, Nancy Spero's art takes a stand—and sets an example for today.

THE DAILY PIC (#1813): Whatever happened to the idea, so briefly entertained at a few moments last century—1919, 1968—that war was an absolutely grotesque aberration that simply had to be brought to an end? Even lefties now seem to take war in their stride, barely flinching at the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Syrians killed in recent years.

This past weekend, I was reminded that disgust can be registered, especially by artists, when I saw the amazing late-’60s drawings of Nancy Spero in her recent solo at Galerie Lelong in New York. She managed to take the helicopters of the Vietnam war and accurately, objectively portray them as monstrous beasts.

People are always saying that for political art to be any good it has to be infinitely subtle and undidactic. Spero proves them wrong: For art to be truly political, it has to use its powers to take a stand. (©The Nancy Spero and Leon Golub Foundation for the Arts, licensed by VAGA New York, courtesy Galerie Lelong, New York)

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