© Photograph by Katia Almerini 2008.
Suzanne Santoro was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1946. She spent much of her childhood visiting museums and taking art classes. She studied as a scholarship student both at the Brooklyn Museum and at the School of Visual Arts, N.Y.C. There she graduated in fine arts, studying with Dore Ashton, Mel Bochner, and Salvatore Scarpitta. She was influenced by painting and sculpture from the ’50s and ’60s, as well as by Minimalism and Conceptual Art. Thanks to Dore Ashton, Suzanne established a working relationship with Mark Rothko.
She accompanied Rothko's family to Rome in 1969; subsequently, she began her studies of ancient and classical art, concentrating on female statuary in ancient Roman sculpture. She then became involved in the Italian Feminist Movement, joining the collective "Rivolta Femminile" with Carla Lonzi and Carla Accardi.
In 1974, she published Towards New Expression. The book explored drapery on classical female statuary, where the author found underlying structures representing the female sexual form.
In 1976, Suzanne, together with other Italian women artists such as Carla Accardi,
Nedda Guidi and Stephanie Oursler, founded the "Cooperativa Beato Angelico", the
first women’s art space in Rome. They exhibited their contemporary works and alternated exhibitions with historical women artists such as Artemisia Gentileschi, Elisabetta Sirani and Regina Bracchi.
In the following years, Suzanne Santoro exhibited her works globally, giving lectures
and publishing articles. In this period, she began her studies as an art therapist.
In 1986 she earned her degree in Art Therapy from the Istituto di Ortofonologia of Rome, specializing in children's graphic development. From 1985 to 2009, she was responsible for the painting and graphic atelier of the Institute, mainly working with deaf children.
She considers her work highly influenced by the graphic process of early childhood where many unexpected formal structures are unexpectedly unveiled.
Her works are in private and public collections such as the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington DC. In 2015, the Verbund Collection in Vienna acquired a number of her works for its permanent collection of Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970s. She donated her personal archives, including documents from the Cooperativa Beato Angelico, to Archivia, an archive housed at "La Casa Internazionale delle Donne" in Rome.
For many years she has been participating in the anti-violence center "Erinna" in
Viterbo, Italy, studying women's stories and women's cultures.
Suzanne is currently drawing, painting, exhibiting and giving lectures.