September 25, 2007

Joan Snyder receives MacArthur genius award

The MacArthur Foundation profile of Joan Snyder declares that her paintings "mirror her personal experience, but, at the same time, the visual messages she provides through her images convey universal and readily understood emotions. Through a fiercely individual approach and persistent experimentation with technique and materials, Snyder has extended the expressive potential of abstract painting and inspired a generation of emerging artists."

In the NYSun, Erica Orden reports that Snyder, 68, has one request. She wants the museums that own her paintings to take them out of storage and put them on display. "Snyder has good reason to cherish the limelight that comes with a MacArthur grant, even at this advanced stage of her career. Not only might the award catapult Ms. Snyder out of the curious middle ground she has long occupied, but it may help shatter the glass ceiling she feels has capped her achievement. 'There's definitely a glass ceiling that women hit in the art world,' Ms. Snyder, whose cohorts include fellow female artists and MacArthur recipients Ida Applebroog and the late Elizabeth Murray, said. 'It's not like we haven't made a lot of progress, but I just know that if I were a man, things would be different....I don't want to sound like sour grapes,' she said, backtracking for a moment. 'I am who I am because I'm a woman, and I've done the work that I've done, and I can't complain about that.'"Read more.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim, and the Whitney all own Snyder's paintings, yet rarely show them. Her last solo exhibition was "Joan Snyder: A Painting Survey, 1969–2005" at the Jewish Museum in 2005. In New York Magazine, Mark Stevens reported: "Snyder is sometimes diagrammatic and occasionally moralizing, but she’s not flabbily poetic. She brings a kind of quiet ferocity to her work, an intensity that pushes past the merely sentimental. More important, she does not use paint the way poetical message-mongers do, to make a sign or speech or illustrate a grandiose meaning. She’s not outside the picture in that way: She seems to live inside the paint. And her canvases are alive to the eye, whatever points are being made." Read more. Images of Ms. Snyder's work can be found at the Betty Cunningham Gallery website.