© Photograph by Katia Almerini 2008.
Suzanne Santoro was born in Brooklyn, New York, 1946. Her childhood was spent in museums and art classes at the Brooklyn Museum as scholarship student after which she went on to earn a degree in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. There, studying with Dore Ashton, Mel Bochner, Salvatore Scarpitta, she was exposed to and influenced by painting and sculpture form the 50’s and 60’s by minimalism and conceptual art. Then, she studied set design at New York University. Her association with Dori Asthon led to a working relationship with Mark Rothko which brought her to Rome where she decided to stay and where she still lives.
In Rome Suzanne began her studies of ancient and classic art, concentrating on female statuary in ancient Roman sculpture and she started to be involved in the Italian Feminist Movement, joining the colective and printing house Rivolta Femminile with Carla Lonzi and Carla Accardi.
In 1974 she created the book "Towards New Expression" published by Rivolta Femminile. The book explored the drapery on classical female statuary whereby the author found underlying structures representing the female sexual form. The publication of the book then led her to explore this theme further by making molds of various parts of the female body in trasparent polyester resin. This artist's book laid the foundation for her work up through the present. Suzanne's work caused quite a stir when her book "Towards New Expression" was censored by The Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, a fact that had an international resonance. Roszika Parker wrote "Censored", a three page article dedicated to Suzanne's work in Spare Rib in 1977. Often represented in art history publications, Suzanne has, among others, been discussed by Rozsika Parker, Griselda Pollock, Hilary Robinson and Mary Kelly.
In 1975, Suzanne, along with ten others italian women (and artists) founded the Beato Angelico Cooperative in Roma, Italy. Among them there were Carla Accardi, LeoNilde Carabba, Anna Maria Colucci, Nedda Guidi, Stephanie Oursler, Silvya Truppi. They exhibited their contemporary works and historical made by women artists like Artemisia Gentileschi, Elisabetta Sirani and Regina, and created an autonomous original experience that marks a new stage for the visual arts and feminist practices.
In the intervening years, Suzanne Santoro exhibited her works internationally, lectured and published articles and began her studies as an art therapist.
In 1984, Suzanne earned her degree from the Istituto di Ortofonologia of Rome as Art Therapist, specializing in children's graphic development. Since 1985, Suzanne has been responsible for the painting and graphic atelier of the Insitute, mainly working with deaf and autistic children between the ages of 8 months through adulthood. She considers her work as an artist highly influenced by her research of the original structures unveiled in the graphic processes of very small children.
Her works are in private and public collections as the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington DC. She donated her personal archive, that includes documents of the Beato Angelico Cooperative, to Archivia, the archive of the Casa Internazionale delle Donne in Rome.
Her work is still studied and explored nowadays by contemporary scholars from all around the world.
In 2016 the Verbund Collection has adquired works by Suzanne Santoro for its Permanent Collection of Feminist Avant-guarde of the 1970s which is exhibiting internationally.
Currently, Suzanne is painting, exhibiting and giving lectures.