Buzz Spector

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Buzz Spector
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Born1948 (age 75–76)
Alma mater
  • Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
  • University of Chicago
  • Artist
  • Critic

Buzz Spector is an American artist and critic.[1] Born in Chicago in 1948, he received his Bachelors of Fine Arts (BFA) from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 1972.[2] He received his Master of Fine Arts (MFA) from the University of Chicago in 1978.[1][2] Spector taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Cornell University, and Washington University in St. Louis's Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, where he retains the titIe of Emeritus Professor.[3]

His work has exhibited in museums throughout the United States and Europe, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Corcoran Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), Mattress Factory Art Museum (Pittsburgh), and the Luigi Pecci Center for Contemporary Art (Prato, Italy).[1]


In his art practice, he uses the book both as both subject object, and he focuses on the relationship between public history, individual memory, and perception.[4] As an object and a carrier of language, the book has potential for double meaning.[5] Spector's art interrogates the content of books and the relationship between author and text, while also turning the books into sculptural objects.[6] He modifies books through stacking, tearing, re-binding, and arranging.[6] His 1991 sculptural work Malevich: With Eight Red Rectangles is emblematic of his making process. Echoing the shape and layout of Kazimir Malevich's 1915 Suprematist Composition (with Eight Red Rectangles), eight books are displayed on the ground. Each book references a red rectangle from the original painting, and each is bound in a red cover.[5] Behind the books is a white wall with the negative shape of the books cut out, as if the red rectangles have fallen from their places in the painting and become books on the floor.

Exhibition History

In 1988, he held his first solo exhibition at The Art Institute of Chicago. Titled The Library of Babel, this show took the form of an installation.[2] His 1990 show, Transgressions, was a joint exhibition with sculptor Donald Lipski, shown at the Corcoran Museum of Art in Washington, D.C. Other solo exhibitions include the 1991 Cold Fashioned Room, shown at The Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh, PA.[2]

His 2022 solo show at the Rockford Art Museum in Rockford, Illinois included large-format Polaroid photographs, prints, and drawings, all of which dated back to the 1970's.[7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Buzz Spector". Center for Book Arts. Retrieved September 3, 2023.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Buzz Spector Biography". Artnet. Retrieved September 3, 2023.
  3. "Buzz Spector". University of the Arts. Retrieved September 3, 2023.
  4. "Buzz Spector, Creativity & Innovation". Colorado College. Retrieved September 3, 2023.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Pagel, David; Spector, Buzz (1993). "Buzz Spector". BOMB (44): 8–11. ISSN 0743-3204.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Wyckoff, Elizabeth (2021). Intersections: Buzz Spector's Books. Elk Grove Villiage, Illinois: Zolla/Lieberman Gallery, Inc. pp. 7–8.
  7. "Buzz Spector: Reading Matter". Rockford Art Museum. Retrieved September 3, 2023.

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