Dancing with the Dark: Prints by Joan Snyder, 1963-2010

September 6 – October 30


Widely celebrated for her vibrant expressionist paintings and her leading role in feminist art, Joan Snyder, a 2007 MacArthur Fellow, has also made remarkable prints throughout her career. These works are the subject of Dancing with the Dark: Joan Snyder Prints 1963-2010, the artist’s first major print retrospective. Snyder’s art has always been motivated by exploring universal themes filtered through deeply personal experiences, among them female sexuality, motherhood, mortality, and social injustice. Natural forms, textures, and the glorious colors found in flowers, blossoms, trees and fields also abound in her prints.

Dancing with the Dark presents 66 works. This survey ranges from Snyder’s earliest landscape and portrait woodcuts, executed during her student years in the early 1960s, to mid-career prints that powerfully combine abstraction and expressionism, to later works engaging in deeply personal imagery, culminating in a glorious trio of prints in 2010. This exhibition was organized by the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey.

“Joan’s art is autobiographical and serves as a visual diary. Her prints, like her paintings, explore and expose her anxieties and passions, as well as strongly express her feelings of joy, rage or sorrow,” notes Marilyn Symmes, exhibition curator and the Zimmerli’s curator of prints and drawings. “Her background as a painter is evident in her execution of prints, which are full of textured, gestural forms and painterly applications of vivid color.”


The first monograph documenting Joan Snyder’s print oeuvre accompanies this exhibition, co-published by DelMonico Books/Prestel and the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University. Dancing with the Dark: Joan Snyder Prints 1963-2010 provides insights into the artist’s distinctive imagery in prints and related paintings, her involvement with printmaking, and her fascinating life. Dancing with the Dark, edited by Marilyn Symmes, includes essays by Symmes and Faye Hirsch, senior editor at Art in America. (176 pages; 162 color illustrations. Hard cover)


Born April 16, 1940 in Highland Park, NJ, Joan Snyder received her A.B. from Douglass College, New Brunswick, NJ, in 1962 and her M.F.A. from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, in 1966. Starting in the early 1970s, Snyder was instrumental in establishing exhibition opportunities for women artists and was among the pioneers who championed feminism. She was a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1974, a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in 1983. In 2007, Snyder received a MacArthur Fellowship, also known as the “genius award.” Her art is represented in many museum collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Jewish Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. She currently lives in Brooklyn and Woodstock, NY.

This exhibition, organized by the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, is supported by donors to the Zimmerli’s Annual Exhibition Fund: Estate of Donald L. Mahan, Benefactor; Voorhees Family Endowment, Sustainer; Ralph W. Voorhees and Jerome A. Yavitz Charitable Foundation, Inc. – Stephen Cypen, President, Supporters. Additional support is provided by the Elizabeth A. Sackler Museum Education Trust of the Jewish Communal Fund and the Dorothy Dehner Foundation for the Visual Arts.
The Zimmerli’s operations, exhibitions, and programs are funded in part by Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.