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Snoddy at The New Art Gallery, Walsall, in September 2013
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Snoddy moved to Manchester in 1986 and graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma in Art Gallery & Museum Studies from the University of Manchester in 1987 and then moved to Bristol to become Exhibitions Organiser at Arnolfini Gallery.
He worked from 1987–1991 on an exhibition programme that included solo exhibitions by Richard Long, Giuseppe Penone, Gillian Ayres, Rachel Whiteread, Vong Phaophanit, Jannis Kounellis: Drawings, Jack B. Yeats: The Late Works (which toured to the Whitechapel Art Gallery and Haags Gemeentemuseum) and the first solo exhibition of Juan Munoz in the UK.
In 1991, Snoddy became Exhibitions Director of Cornerhouse, Manchester, where he and other city curators established the Manchester Gallery Consortium when the Hayward Gallery brought the British Art Show 4 to the city in 1995. He also organised such shows as the first John Baldessari European Retrospective toured to the Serpentine Gallery, London and onwards onto a European tour; a Bruce McLean film commission; 'Sublime: Manchester Music and Design';Edward Allington; Jochen Gerz; Annette Messager: Telling Tales'; Rita Donagh Retrospective; Paul Seawright: Sectarian Murders and 'Unveiled: Possibilities in Abstract Painting' exhibitions.
In 1996, he moved to become Director of Southampton City Art Gallery, where he and later Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art director Godfrey Worsdale organised the 1998 Chris Ofili solo exhibition, which helped secure Ofili the 1998 Turner Prize, and an exchange of collections with the Bilbao Museum of Fine Art, to coincide with the opening of the new Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. He made acquisitions for the collection included works by John Hoyland, Fiona Rae, Chris Ofili, Douglas Gordon and Julian Opie.
In the spring of 1998, he moved to Milton Keynes as founder-director during the construction of a brand new gallery as part of the £30 million Milton Keynes Theatre and Gallery complex. Milton Keynes Gallery (MK G) opened on 8 October 1999 with ‘The Rudimentary Pictures’, an exhibition of 33 new works by Gilbert & George. There were also exhibitions of Richard Hamilton, Sigmar Polke, Andy Warhol, Juergen Teller, Noble & Webster, Richard Wright, Abigail Lane, 'Air Guitar: Contemporary Art and Rock Music' and 'The Temple of Bacchus', (Sarah Lucas with Colin Lowe and Roddy Thompson). In October 2003 at the inaugural Frieze Art Fair in Regent's Park, London MK G had a stand which remains the only time a publicly funded art gallery in the UK has had a stand at the FAF.
In March 2004, Snoddy became Director of the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, where he made organisational and structural changes, refreshed the programme and engaged with artists of the region. He was responsible for commissioning Bob and Roberta Smith to create an exhibition in response to the Labour Party Spring Conference of 2004 at the neighbouring the Sage, Gateshead, as well as programming an Edward Kienholz retrospective and the first exhibition of the Italian artist Carol Rama in the UK. He resigned in November 2004.
In January 2005, he began to work on freelance projects, acted as consultant to various organisations, lectured at Manchester Metropolitan University and continued to be on the VAGA Executive Board. Snoddy was also appointed in February 2005 as Director of the inaugural Contemporary Art Norwich (CAN05), a multi venued exhibition project, (incorporating the open exhibition EAST) in the city of Norwich during the Summer of 2005.
In May 2005, Snoddy was appointed as Director of The New Art Gallery, Walsall, where he has reviewed policies, restructured the organisation, enabled an acquisitions budget for contemporary art, opened a new 4th floor gallery, expanded the Library & Archive, developed a new sculpture terrace and increased visitor figures annually since 2005 when they were 120,000: in 2010 they reached 201,000. Exhibitions have included 'Starstruck: Contemporary Art and Celebrity'; Christopher Le Brun retrospective; Stuart Whipps - Longbridge Project; Richard Billingham: The Black Country; Jane & Louise Wilson; John Davies: A British Landscape; 'Reimagining Asia', John Pickering, Antoinette Haechler, Frank Sidney Smith and 'The Life of the Mind', curated by Bob and Roberta Smith and Zarina Bhimji. The New Art Gallery was also one of the 12 launch venues for Artists' Rooms, (Anthony d'Offay's gift/sale of contemporary art to the nation) and exhibited 52 early Andy Warhol drawings. From 6 October 2012 the NAG exhibited Damien Hirst, for a year-long display. The gallery attracted 236,000 visitors during the year, almost equalling the record set in its opening year.
In 2006, Snoddy was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Previously he has been a Director of The New Contemporaries and was on the Visual Arts Committee of the British Council for 10 years, taught at numerous art colleges as a visiting lecturer and was on the working committee for the National Policy for Collecting Contemporary Art and Turning Point ACE West Midlands area group.
In 2007, along with Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and Ikon Gallery, Birmingham who joined together to become the West Midlands Consortium they are one of 5 consortium's in the UK to be awarded the £1 million Art Fund International award to purchase international contemporary art over the following 5 years, under the theme of the Metropolis - an interim exhibition Metropolis of acquisitions was launched in the Autumn of 2010. In 2009 he was a judge for the National Portrait Gallery, Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize which subsequently toured the UK.
In 2009, he was the Curator for the Art of Ideas in Birmingham and he appeared on Antony Gormley’s, One & Other project at Trafalgar Square in August 2009 where he collaborated with Bob and Roberta Smith on realising an art work for the fourth plinth.
Snoddy is a Patron of Walsall College, a former Board member of Lichfield Festival, 'Pestival' and 'The Campaign for Drawing', and was on the Selection Committee for 'Artists Taking the Lead' in the North West of England and was a curatorial advisor working on Anthony McCall's Column for Wirral Waters, intended to be a part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, but which was the only 'Artists Taking the Lead' project which was not realised.
He was Director of Look11, the Liverpool International Festival of Photography and Photography, the first photography festival to be staged in Liverpool, during Liverpool’s Year of Social Justice and City of Radicals in 2011.
In 2011, at the invitation of the British Council, Snoddy visited Jerusalem and the Palestinian Territories to advise on the development of a potential new Palestinian Museum of Art and on a future collections policy and exhibitions strategy.
Snoddy curated a 2012 exhibition, Wandering Rocks, selected from the Leytonstone Art Trail at The Stone Space, Leytonstone. Wandering Rocks is episode ten of James Joyce's Ulysses, and consists of nineteen short views of characters as they make their way round Dublin in the afternoon.
Work as an artist
In addition to his career as a museum director, Snoddy has made abstract paintings. He is a member of the artist collective Contemporary British Painting and has received solo exhibitions of his work at The Roberto Polo Gallery, Brussels, 2016, The Artist Workhouse, 2016 The Rabley Drawing Centre, 2016 and Southampton City Art Gallery, 2017
Paintings by Snoddy are held by the following collections:
- Frank Cohen Collection
- Hertfordshire Education Authority
- Lisburn Borough Council
- The Priseman Seabrook Collection
- Interview in Museums Journal, January 2006
- Thorpe, Vanessa (2 February 2003). "Prize to put northern artists on the map". The Observer. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
- Byrne Robinson, Molly (August 2009). "2 Days in the Life - Stephen Snoddy" (PDF). The Art Observer. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
- "Stephen Snoddy". Prix Pictet. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
- "Curatorial Voices at Crawford Gallery". RTÉ.ie. 31 March 2003. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
- "Baltic director gets his job back". BBC Online. 20 October 2004. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
- Snoddy resigns after "rough" time - the Newcastle Journal
- "One post lures 400 hopefuls". Express & Star. 29 June 2009. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
- Peacock, Louisa (2011-03-17). "Can public sector managers oversee change?". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-09-19.
- "Anthony d'Offay: Artist Rooms, review". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
- "ARTIST ROOMS: Damien Hirst 6 October 2012 – 27 October 2013". New Art Gallery, Walsall. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
- Damien Hirst visitor figures from the Walsall Advertiser
- "Taylor Wessing double for Vanessa Winship?". British Journal of Photography. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
- Culture24 Staff (2009-08-17). "Bob and Roberta Smith makes it onto Fourth Plinth - via Walsall". Culture 24. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
- Anthony McCall's Column for Merseyside Scrapped Wasting £500,000 - the Independent
- "Look 11 photography festival programme revealed". BBC Online. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
- "Wandering Rocks". WordPress.com. The Stone Space. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
- "Roberto Polo Gallery". Mu-inthecity. Retrieved 2017-05-12.
- "Stephen Snoddy Rooms". www.robertopollogallery.com. Retrieved 2017-05-12.
- "Recent Work, Stephen Snoddy". www.artistworkhouse.com. Retrieved 2017-05-12.
- "Stephen Snoddy – Conversations". www.rableydrawingcentre.com. Retrieved 2016-05-29.
- "Looking at Abstraction with Stephen Snoddy". www.artrabbit.com. Retrieved 2017-05-12.
- "Looking at Abstraction with Stephen Snoddy". www.southamptoncityartgallery.com. Retrieved 2017-05-12.
- "Priseman Seabrook Collection". www.contemporarybritishpainting. Archived from the original on 2016-04-24. Retrieved 2016-05-29.