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Joyce Lyon

Associate Member

Joyce Lyon is an artist, teacher and curator whose work focuses on the intersection of place and memory. She uses drawing and digital imagery / artist’s books to address issues of identity, history and environment from a personal and female perspective. In support of her work she has received grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Jerome Foundation and the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. Her work is in public and private collections internationally. She was a founding member of WARM: The Women’s Art Registry of Minnesota and the Healing Place Collaborative and is Associate Professor of Art Emerita at the University of Minnesota.


I engage in creating primary experiences –for myself as I work, for viewers who replace me in confrontation with the work— a transformation that offers back, in the languages of color, stroke, texture, movement what can be experienced of place. In so doing I rely on and open to others empathy, emotion, memory and time. The places I choose are well known to me. I have made work about my garden at night, about Wistman’s Wood in Dartmoor, about my father’s Holocaust experience, about the nature reserve along the Minnesota River, historically Dakota homeland, during seasonal flood and drought. Thoughts about knowing a place intimately, about history, nature and change are active as I walk and in retrospect as I work. People tell me the work is beautiful, not an easy beauty but one that includes the fierceness of destruction, the cycles of decay and, hopefully, replenishment. People also tell me that they use my work to ignite their memories, to revisit their own experiences in these or similar places. In order to engage in protecting our wild places and the multiplicity of ways in which they are essential, we need awe and pleasure alive within us. I carry within me as companions the work of writers, among them John Berger, Lucy Lippard, and Rebecca Solnit. From John Berger I take the importance of close attention and actively, astutely searching for implication. I learned from him that art can be as revealing as written history and criticism. In Lure of the Local, Lucy Lippard runs two streams of writing in parallel across each page: above, essays on artists working in place; below, her personal narrative of coastal Maine experiences. Similarly, Rebecca Solnit intermingles the personal with deeply researched cultural exploration. The presence of several kinds of knowing becomes an invitation to engage and interrogate from our own diverse perspectives.



  • 1970
    • MFA, Studio Arts, University of Minnesota, MN
  • 1964-66
    • Studies in Foundation and Printmaking, Pratt Institute, NY
  • 1964
    • BA, English, Barnard College, NY

Current position

Art Department, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. Presently, Professor Emerita. Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Adjunct Graduate Faculty, 2004, 1994-98

Selected Grants and Awards

  • 2013
    • Imagine Fund Grants, University of Minnesota: Deep Mapping: Wistman’s Wood, Dartmoor, England.
  • 2012
    • Imagine Fund Grants, University of Minnesota: Dialogue in Place Volume II.
  • 2009
    • Imagine Fund Grant, in support of Simultaneous Translation. University of Minnesota
  • 2008
    • Scholarly Events Fund grant, with Susan Armington in support of Talking Suitcases, University of Minnesota
  • 2007
    • Scholarly Events Fund grant, with Alexis Kuhr in support of The Practice of Drawing: Selections from the Weisman Museum of Art and Joyce Lyon and Alexis Kuhr: Recent Drawings
  • 1996
    • Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship 1996; also 1990 and 1986
  • 1992
    • Minnesota Center for Book Arts/Jerome Foundation Book Arts Fellowship for Conversations with Rzeszow
  • 1991
    • Distinguished Teacher Award, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota
  • 1989
    • Fulbright-Hayes Group Projects Abroad: Seminar on Contemporary Poland, Marie Curie-Sklodowska University, Lublin and throughout Poland
  • 1985
    • WARM/LandMark Editions Project Grant (Jerome Foundation)
  • 1982
    • Residency Fellowship, Millay Colony for the Arts, Austerlitz, NY

Selected Solo and Two Person Exhibitions

  • 2021
    • Passing Radiance. Form+Content Gallery, Minneapolis, MN.
  • 2020
    • The Beginning of Everything: An Exhibition of Drawings. Curated by Howard Oransky, Katherine Nash Gallery, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
  • 2019
    • Crosby Farm Park – Autumn. Groveland Gallery, Minneapolis.
  • 2018
    • Some Pages for a Book of Hours. Form+Content Gallery, Minneapolis.
    • A Few Conversations Between Women. Boston University, Boston, MA.
    • Wallpaper. Curated by Harriet Bart and Jon Neuse, Traffic Zone Gallery, Minneapolis.
  • 2016
    • Shifting Perspectives: Dialogue in Place III (with Andrea Thoma). Clothworkers Building, University of Leeds, UK.
    • Wistman’s Wood. Groveland Gallery, Minneapolis, MN.
    • Reframe Minnesota: Art Beyond a Single Story. All My Relations Gallery, Minneapolis.
    • The River: Memory and Metaphor on the Mississippi. Minnesota Center for Book Arts, Minneapolis.
  • 2015
    • Longest Way Round is the Shortest Way Home (Retrospective, with James Henkel). Katherine Nash Gallery, University of Minnesota.
  • 2014
    • Two Gardens. Form+Content Gallery, Minneapolis.
  • 2013
    • Passaggio/Passage. Anderson Student Center, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota (permanent installation).
  • 2012
    • A Sense of Place in Artists’ Books. Rapson Library, University of Minnesota. Dialogue in Place, Vol. II (with Andrea Thoma). Form+Content Gallery, Minneapolis.
  • 2010
    • Sacred Spaces – 10 Artists in 30 Days. Sabes Jewish Community Center, Minneapolis.
    • Women and Water Rights: Rivers of Regeneration. Juror, Lucy Lippard, Katherine Nash Gallery, Mpls. Gardens for Winter (with Elizabeth Erickson and Sandra Menefee Taylor). Form+Content Gallery, Mpls.
  • 2009
    • Otricoli Drawings. Traffic Zone Gallery, Minneapolis.
  • 2008
    • Found in Translation: Considering What Can Be Learned Through Linguistic and Cultural Translation. Form+Content Gallery, Minneapolis.
    • Recent Drawing (with Alexis Kuhr). Katherine Nash Gallery, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
  • 2007
    • Trace Elements. Inaugural exhibition curated by Doryun Chong, Form+Content Gallery, Minneapolis.
  • 2006
    • Twelve from WARM. Curated by Joanna Inglot, Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis (catalogue). Otricoli Gardens: Searching for Language. Groveland Gallery, Minneapolis.
  • 2004
    • Cupped. Groveland Gallery, Minneapolis.
    • Uncanny Visions: Contemporary Romantic Landscapes. Curated by Patricia Briggs, Plains Art Museum, Fargo ND and Phipps Art Center, Hudson, WI (2002).
    • Residue of Silence (with Francisca de Beurges Rosenthal and Howard Oransky), ARC Gallery, Chicago, Cabrillo College, Aptos, CA (2003) and University of N. Iowa, Cedar Falls (2002). (Catalogue).
  • 2000
    • Water. Groveland Gallery, Minneapolis.
    • Dialogue in Place (with Andrea Thoma). Bretton Hall College, University of Leeds, UK and Nash Gallery, University of Minnesota (catalogue).
  • 1999
    • Absence/Presence: The Artistic Memory of the Holocaust and Genocide. Curated by Stephen Feinstein, University of Minnesota (catalogue).
  • 1998
    • Available Light. Groveland Gallery, Minneapolis.
    • ‘95-02 Witness and Legacy: Contemporary Art About the Holocaust. Curated by Stephen Feinstein, Minnesota Museum of American Art and sixteen sites throughout US (catalogue).
  • 1994
    • Jerome Book Arts Fellowship Winners. Minnesota Center for Book Arts, Minneapolis (catalogue).
  • 1992-3
    • Conversations with Rzeszow: An Installation of Image and Text. Phipps Art Center, Hudson, WI and four regional colleges.
  • 1990
    • First Steps on the Road to Rzeszow. Tweed Museum of Art, Duluth, MN.
  • 1988
    • Contemporary Realist Gallery, San Francisco, CA. Place/Placement (with Bob Edwards). Rochester Art Center, Rochester, MN.
  • 1987
    • Twentieth Century Realism. Santa Cruz Art Museum, Santa Cruz, CA
    • Landscape. Three-person exhibition, VanStratten Gallery, Chicago, IL.
    • Private Worlds: New Realist Landscapes. Contemporary Realist Gallery, San Francisco.
  • 1986
    • House, Garden: The Spirit of Place. Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program (MAEP), Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis.
    • Artemisia Gallery, Chicago, IL. Three Approaches to Realism. Minnesota Museum of Art, St. Paul, MN.
  • 1984
    • WARM: A Landmark Exhibition. Landmark Gallery, Minnesota Museum of Art, St. Paul, MN. Two-person exhibit with Judith Roode. Catherine Murphy Gallery, College of St. Catherine, St. Paul.
  • 1983
    • Two-person exhibition with Sally Brown, SoHo 20. New York, NY.
  • 1982
    • *WARM Gallery / Women's Art Registry of Minnesota, Minneapolis. Also ‘80, '78, '76. Numerous group, thematic and curated exhibits, 1975-1989.

Selected Professional Activities

  • 2013
    • Co-curator with Howard Oransky, The House We Built: Feminist Art, Then and Now, Katherine Nash Gallery, University of Minnesota.
  • 2012
    • Co-curator with Christine Baeumler, Shadows, traces, undercurrents, Katherine Nash Gallery, University of Minnesota, in conjunction with Mapping Spectral Traces international symposium.
  • 2011
    • Approaching Memory. Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Public Lecture.
  • 2009
    • Co-curator with Susan Armington, Talking Suitcases: Gathering Life Stories in a Diverse World. Nash Gallery, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
  • 1999-
    • Landscape and Identity, for Women’s Art Institute, MCAD and St. Catherine University, yearly lecture.
  • 1989
    • The Subjective Response in Contemporary Landscape Painting, panel member, National Conference of the Women’s Caucus for Art, San Francisco
  • 1983-90
    • Board of Directors, Artpaper, Minneapolis. '
  • 1985-86
    • Artists Advisory Panel, Artpaper, Minneapolis. '
  • 1981-84
    • Project Director, Feminist Perspectives: Dialogs on Art. WARM and Minnesota Humanities Commission
  • 1976-89
    • Founding Member, Women’s Art Registry of Minnesota (WARM).

Selected Bibliography

Inglot, Joanna, “WARM: 12 Artists of the Women’s Art Registry of Minnesota: Joyce Lyon” in WARM: A Feminist Art Collective in Minnesota, Weisman Art Museum/University of Minnesota Press, 2007, 110-113 et alia

Lyon, Joyce, “Conversations with Rzeszow: An Artist’s Journey,” in Absence/Presence: Critical Essays on the Artistic Memory of the Holocaust, Stephen Feinstein, editor, Syracuse University Press, 2005

Dialogue in Place: Joyce Lyon and Andrea Thoma, exhibition catalogue with essays by Monica Ochtrup and Iain Biggs, University of Minnesota, 2000

Feinstein, Stephen, editor, Witness and Legacy: Contemporary Art about the Holocaust, exhibition catalog with essays by Stephen Feinstein, Yehudit Shendar and Matthew Baigell, Lerner Publications, Minneapolis, MN, 1995

The 1993 Jerome Book Arts Exhibition: Julie Baugnet, Ricardo Bloch, Joyce Lyon, Robert Silberman and Judith A. Martin, exhibition catalog with essay by Nancy Princenthal, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, Minneapolis, MN

Jewett, Robert and Sundberg, Ann, The Art of Critique, videotape exploring different concepts and methods of studio critique, made under a grant from Minneapolis Public Schools, 1990


Joyce Lyon