Sperm Bomb: Art, Feminism, and the American War in Vietnam

Sperm Bomb: Art, Feminism, and the American War in Vietnam - Mignon Nixon

Mignon Nixon
The Courtald Institute of Art
April 17, 2012

A blue mushroom cloud fills the page, its contour traced by the comet-like tails of shrieking heads whose gaping mouths spew out furious curses in a rain of profanity over needle-stiff bodies littering the ground. This lecture by Mignon Nixon borrows its title, “Sperm Bomb,” from Nancy Spero, who, in 1964, in response to the escalating American war in Vietnam, abruptly abandoned ­painting on canvas for more immediate means: gouache and ink liberally diluted with spit. Returning to the scene of war ­resistance and nascent feminism in the Vietnam era, Nixon reflects upon newly pressing questions of what art concerned with ­subjectivity brings to a situation of war.

This lecture was the final one in the series Art and Its Spaces, cosponsored by the Institute for Advanced Study and the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University.