In 1986, Milly Greenberg wrote a letter to President Reagan, expressing her wish to be the first senior citizen astronaut. Her interest in space was not that of a layperson scientist or armchair explorer but a lifelong artist, one whose adventures took her through an entire century of artmaking. It’s hard to imagine that the same person who drafted the angular, high-modern public service announcements of her WPA years—when she was an easel artist with the Federal Art Project, earning $100 month in one of the most dignified programs ever run for artists in this country—would in the 1980s become the creator of assemblages like “I’m Scared of the Bomb (The Bride),” in which a veiled Mona Lisa, embraced by neon hands and crowned by a plastic dinosaur, poses against a shimmery night sky. But Greenberg was, if anything, a person who could embrace the possibilities available at any given moment, making art that was both entirely hers and entirely of its time, even as those times they kept a-changing, from her birth in 1912 until her death in 2003.
—Lori Waxman 10/14/2023 5:54 PM