Nancy Spero (American, 1926-2009)
Masha Bruskina, 1995
- Acrylic on linen
- 122 1/4 x 146 1/2 in. (310.5 x 372.1 cm)
- The Jewish Museum, New York
- Purchase: Fine Arts Acquisitions Committee Fund, Blanche and Romie Shapiro Fund, Kristie A. Jayne Fund, Sara Schlesinger Bequest, and Miki Denhof Bequest, 2002-12a-c
Not on view
Masha Bruskina has appeared in many of Nancy Spero's works. Here, Spero intersperses images and texts from different periods and sources to tell Bruskina's story. Spero includes an October 26, 1941, newspaper article describing the hanging of an anonymous girl, a 1960s article that reveals the discovery of the woman's Jewish identity, and pictures of Bruskina's death march and execution. The work consists of three unstretched canvases affixed to the wall with pushpins. These materials give the piece a feeling of immediacy and are more suggestive of a political banner than a work of art.
In her work, Nancy Spero has paid homage to many strong female figures who have been overlooked historically. In her native Belorussia, Bruskina is still unrecognized; the woman in the photo is identified as "unknown." By publicizing Bruskina's name and identity, Spero reinvests her with a measure of dignity.