Joan Snyder’s Prints Shed New Light

Photographer Bryan Whitney
January 21, 2011

Sometimes the canons of art history can be so airtight that you begin to forget what's floating in the abyss. Some artists are hastily collapsed into particular movements and moments when the reality of their life's work is much more multi-faceted and in need of depth-finding 3D glasses. Georgia O'Keeffe is the perfect example, her flower petals and animal skulls so much a symbol of her as an Artist with a capital A that people were shocked to see that she actually painted in all kinds of ways when The Whitney Museum of American Art exhibited lesser-known abstract works of hers last year.

Joan Snyder isn't the titan that O'Keeffe is, but she is an artist known mostly for a particular kind of painting, in her case grand canvases with expressive oils splotched in pinks, yellows, and deep reds. In a nod to her smaller works, The Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers has assembled a lesser known, but just as valuable, collection of her prints in an exhibit opening January 29 and catalog. The exhibition is revealing because it shows some of the more nuanced missives behind her grander work, a short 8x5 letter she wrote and designed with a mini-feminist manifesto, lithographs with some of Snyder's favorite political buzzwords. Sometimes, with artists great and small, it's not size that matters.


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Joan Snyder’s Prints Shed New Light