Snapper Promotes Fine Arts at IIT to Bring Chicago's Culture to Campus
John Snapper, professor of philosophy at IIT, is a longstanding supporter of the arts. After studying aesthetic theory with Arthur Szathmary and Stuart Hampshire (professors of philosophy at Princeton University), he turned to a study of film, working in both Princeton's Film Society and the University of Chicago Film Society while in graduate school. His current favored art form is painting. He owns a small collection, including works on paper by Robert Motherwell, Louise Nevelson, Agnes Martin, and Ben Shahn, as well as works by up-and-coming Chicago artists. His most significant collection, however, is of New Guinea ethnographic art. He makes a point of frequenting local art venues, including the Fine Arts Building where his wife, Zoe Spirra, has a studio and works in both abstract acrylics and in traditional representational Chinese ink-on-paper.
[from left] Professor Snapper with guest curator John Martin
In collaboration with the Paul V. Galvin Library, Snapper worked most recently with guest curator John Martin (JP Martin Group, a fine art dealer and publisher that specializes in African-American artists of note) to open "Fragments," a retrospective exhibition of work by Geraldine McCullough during Women's History Month in the Kemper Gallery in Paul V. Galvin Library. McCullough is an important African-American painter, sculptor, and educator.
Born on December 1, 1917, McCullough spent her formative years in Chicago, graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with both Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in painting and art education, and taught in the Chicago public school system. After serving as the Chairperson of the Art Department for twelve years, Rosary College, (later Dominican University) in River Forest, IL bestowed upon her an Honorary Doctorate at her retirement. Her work is exhibited in many notable collections throughout the U.S., including 'Three Generations of African American Women Sculptors' at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington and the National Women's Museum in Washington, D.C. (Nield Buchwald, 2002, para. 2) Continue reading about McCullough's life and art.
The McCullough exhibition was a huge success, with over 100 attendees at the opening reception, where short talks were given by Dr. Carol L. Adams, president and CEO of The DuSable Museum, and John Himmelfarb, a highly respected national and international artist. See below for more images of the McCullough exhibition.
In another recent collaboration with former IIT Dean of Libraries Chris Stewart, and Roberto Ferreyra, director of Colibri Gallery in Pilsen, Snapper curated a show of etchings by important artists from Mexico in the Kemper Gallery. This exhibition was made possible when Ferreyra graciously lent to the gallery several works by some of today's important Mexican artists produced at the Taller Punta Seca. These works, showing the range and importance of Mexican iconography, were on display at the Kemper Gallery for two months, and are now held in the Colibri Gallery. With support from IIT's Quality of Worklife Committee, IIT College of Science and Letters, and IIT Office of Multicultural Student Services, a closing reception was held that included a talk on the exhibition by Ferreya and Diana Solis, a critic and local artist, to an audience of about 40 people.
Snapper is working with Galvin Library to bring more art events back to campus, putting on exhibitions by recognized artists. In the planning stages for Kemper Gallery is a show of a talented but not well-known New York artist from the 1930s and '40s. Snapper supports both creative work to produce art and the exhibition of art for public study. He believes that promoting these two aspects of the fine arts are important ways to bring Chicago's culture to IIT's campus.
"Fragments," a retrospective exhibition of work by Geraldine McCullough during Women's History Month in the Kemper Gallery in Paul V. Galvin Library
[from left] Professor Jack Snapper; Senior Lecturer James Dabbert, John Martin, and Sawyier Fellow Krisanna Scheiter
[from left] Scheiter, Snapper, Dabbert, Martin, and Snapper
Geraldine McCullough works on display in the Kemper Gallery in Paul V. Galvin Library
Martin and Scheiter discuss Geraldine McCullough